Sometimes, you just have to ask

Some years ago, at the opening night of a very exclusive restaurant in Newark, USA, my dinner companion and I were seated next to a party of 8 - a family that was celebrating. Being the social butterfly that I am, I started a conversation with one of them and the next thing we knew, everyone at the restaurant that evening was treated to an unforgettable, once in a lifetime, LIVE performance.

As it turned out, the man that I was talking with was celebrating his birthday. He looked so happy, surrounded by his family, all dressed up, and looking like something right out of a movie. Then, he told me that he was a tenor at the Metropolitan Opera. Without hesitation, I asked if he would sing Schubert's "Ave Maria" for me. I thought that he'd laugh, but he cleared his throat and started to sing in the most heavenly voice I ever heard, right there and then. Sometimes, you just have to ask.

The sound was unbelievable. It could be heard above everything else. In a matter of seconds, everyone was looking in our direction. When people throughout the restaurant realized that what they were hearing was live, they all came by to watch. 

About halfway into the song, as if on cue, another patron walked in, and when he saw what was going on, he started singing too. As incredible as it may sound, he was also a tenor at the Metropolitan Opera. Between the two of them, they brought the house down. They sang several songs, including "Torna Surriento". It was amazing.

Meanwhile, the owner of the restaurant was absolutely ecstatic. He called his wife, who happened to be in Montreal at the time, and told her what was going on. She was at her father's bar, and they put on the speakerphone so everyone in the bar could hear the singing too.

What are the chances that something like this could actually happen? And yet, it did. In July 1994.

I know that I wasn't the only one who felt like crying and screaming for joy at the same time that night. Everyone was astounded by the event. It was a perfect opening night, with a full house and the best show in town, live. It couldn't have turned out better if it had been planned!

Everyone was uplifted by the precious gifts that those men gave us that night: the gifts of hope, joy, and surprise through music, the universal language of love.

Sometimes when I feel sad, I remember that night and it gives me hope. It reminds me that as improbable as it may appear, you can really get what you want. Sometimes, you just have to ask.

Wishing Only Well,

Carmen Colombo
October 2000

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