Well that was quite the week. I am sitting at home in my parents house, enjoying some peace and quiet after the a stellar but exhausting week of travel and performances. Looking back, it is all a bit of a blur. I can't quite slow at all down yet but luckily I have the photos and film to keep the memories forever.
It started with a quiet celebration as I never really acknowledged the 2 Emmy® Nominations. We didn't win but I didn't give a hoot. I feel like I have reached a standard that I have wanted to reach my whole life. I dont get the statue but for the rest of my days I will be known as Emmy® nominated singer, Michael Londra. How amazing is that!!!! My friends and I had some champagne and talked about the road getting there. It was the start of a special 7 days.
|Anthony Kearns and I with the Irish color party|
|Carrying the Emigrant Flame|
The whole service was dignified, calm, prayerful and quite perfect. The lighting of the torch being transported to Ireland was involved but meticulously organised by the Irish team from New Ross. I sang the Irish National Anthem. Let me say that while I am totally comfortable singing this piece, I was overwhelmed by the formality, by my business attire, by the Kennedys and the heat / humidity really did a number on me. I am not built for it. I didn't do a great job but for some reason, it didn't seem to matter. I was so proud to be from Wexford and to be there to honor a Wexford man who has a column in world history. Another Wexford man Anthony Kearns followed with the US anthem. Anthony is on of the Irish Tenors. His voice is thunderous, classical and at it's core, Irish. He sang beautifully. We make a great team.
Once the service was over we all returned to the Irish Ambassador's residence for a quiet celebration and some songs. I sang How Are Things in Glocca Morra as it was one of JFK's favorites. I followed it with an acapella version of Song for John. The whole party joined me in a rendition of The Boys of Wexford. Once we finished that, I could relax so I enjoyed a quiet pint of Guinness with friends.
Up the next morning at 5am to get a flight to New York and on to Ireland. I was truly exhausted at this point. I had no sleep at all really and once i landed I knew I had to face the mammoth weekend of festivities. I landed in Dublin, a wreck of a man but once I got home, it dissappeared. I was ready for anything the few days would throw at me.
On Friday night there was a celebration dinner which was a glimpse of the following day's festivities. I got to hear Judy Collins sing some of her greatest songs. We were introduced for the first time then. Time stood still when I stared into her azure blue eyes. I never say anything like them. Hypnotic. I told her how much I loved her song "In the Twilight" which seemed to catch her unawares. She started crying which in turn set me off. We had a magic few moments talking about how special the song was.
I got home early so I would be ready for the big concert on Saturday. I drove up with my sister Majella who shared the day with me along with my parents and manager visiting from Nashville. I warmed up and gradually the VIPS arrived. I however met noone before the show. Judy went on first. All I can say was that she was stunning. Her tone is clear as a ringing bell as she hit notes in the stratosphere.
I was up next. I walked onstage looking out at the ominous clouds which I thought were about to unload on us all. The rain stayed away as it turned out. I looked to the first row and Caroline waved at me as I waited for the TV crew getting ready. I waved back as if to say "Hey, Caroline - What Up?"
|Mam (chanelling Jackie O) and Dad arrive with VIPS|
I sang Danny Boy with my lovely pianist Eithne. A singer knows when they have done a good job. I knew it couldn't have been more perfect so when we finished, I was delighted. On to Song for John which I was a bit nervous about. It turned out to be perfect. I ran off to meet Caroline and Jean for real whoch couldn't have been sweeter. I also got to chat to Kathleen Kennedy Townsend who I am a huge fan of. She was gushing me with praise which was a little awkward for me but a thrill.
I walked side-stage. Judy Collins walked up to me. She placed her delicate hands around my face and whispered at me " your voice is golden. When are recording my song? It is perfect for you". My heart stopped. It was the most magical moment ever. I then got to walk back on stage with her and sing Amazing Grace with a legend.
|My family with An Taoiseach (primeminister of Ireland) Enda Kenny|
So now I am spending a week at home with my family in Wexford. I need the rest to be honest. I head to London next week as the lovely people at Shapiro Bernstein are sending me over to write with some brilliant writers including Bruce Wooley who has written so many hits from Video Killed the Radio Star to Slave to the Rhythm, Chris Elliot who wrote Moulin Rouge soundtrack and arranged Adele's last album. I also get to write with Matteo Saghese who wrote Magia Sara which I recorded a few years ago. I hope he didn't think my Italian sucked...which it did.
I head back to the US then to get ready for my big concert on Boston Common on July 19. Have I mentioned it is free and they are expecting 25,000.............. so be early!!!
When I left for America, JFK was front and center in my mind. He represented the American Dream to me. I have gotten to live that dream. This week I was able to thank him, honor him, sing for him.
It was perfect.