- Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 August 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 04 August 2010 05:00
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On Wednesday, June 30, I was fortunate enough to live an absolute dream — I appeared live on stage with supergroup Chicago at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Va.
This year Chicago is working with the American Cancer Society (ACS) by offering the opportunity to sing onstage at each of their summer shows. The highest bidder will join the band and sing one of their biggest hits, “If You Leave Me Now.” Bids begin at $500 with all proceeds benefiting ACS.
For the Bristow show, only one bidder came forward, and he thought the concert was being held in a different state. He asked that his bid be re-directed to another show, so the ACS marketing team contacted the Richmond, Va., field office to find a volunteer who might like to participate.
Robyn Barber, our ACS community partner with King George Relay For Life, already knew that I was a rabid Chicago fan. She knew that when I stepped inside the gates at Jiffy Lube Live, it would be my 26th Chicago show. Having been a fan since age 10, I’d taken the opportunity to see them perform all over the country. Stepping on stage, however, seemed beyond a dream!
A pre-concert meet and greet confirmed what I’d always imagined — the guys were wonderful! Very friendly and accommodating of photos for me and the other ACS volunteers at the show. Most exciting for me was that all four original band members — Robert Lamm, James Pankow, Walter Parazaider and Lee Loughnane — were at the show. Unfortunately, most every member has experienced cancer in their families or with friends, and they were very enthusiastic about the “Sing With Chicago” program and the donations that come in with each show.
When the moment finally arrived, I was outfitted with a sound pack and cordless microphone, along with earphones that allowed me to hear only the music. I think I thought that once I took the stage, they’d gently blend in my less-than-stellar vocals, but to my amazement, it was just me, center stage, belting out the ballad that was an AM radio staple when it was released in July 1976 (I was 13). During the song, I found myself turning to look at the giant trademarked Chicago logo behind me, a symbol recognizable to so many generations. That I was silhouetted against it is still unreal!
I took advantage of the moment and shared lots of hugs with band members as I left the stage, and I was welcomed back to my seat by many enthusiastic Chicago fan club members. My “15 minutes” of fame was even better than I could’ve imagined!
Most importantly, Chicago is bringing attention to ACS and giving lots of fans the chance to help us find a cure. Even if you don’t want to “sing with Chicago,” you can visit www.relayforlife.org/kinggeorge, and donate to our local ACS effort. Dedicate your donation to a current Chicago fan or maybe someone you’ve lost to cancer. Every penny donated provides services to our local residents battling cancer, and money for much-needed research that, each day, seems to find us a little closer to a cure!
To learn more about singing live with Chicago, visit www.chicagotheband.com.
By Jeron Hayes