A Prairie Home Companion breathes life into Winspear
Published: Monday, August 23, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Some things in life cannot be summarized with words, and that is when music can step in.
A Prairie Home Companion's stop at the Winspear Opera House Friday night in its "Summer Love" tour spoke, or sang rather, to that.
For those of you who were not fortunate enough to have parents who introduced you to Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion, I will indulge you with an explanation.
PHC is a radio program that airs Saturday nights and then again Sunday mornings on National Public Radio. The show's broadcast is based from the fictional town of Lake Wobegon, Minnesota but travels from city to city, recording shows along the way.
Each night has a theme, and the members of Keillor's troupe perform songs, recite poetry and tell stories which are variations on that theme.
The troupe Friday night consisted of Keillor, sound effects guy Fred Newman, folk singer Sara Watkins, known for her band Nickelcreek, and the classic line-up of The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band.
The show opened on a good note with Keillor singing of how he had always wanted to be an opera singer. The jovial nature of that song was immediately juxtaposed with an affecting rendition of "Unchained Melody."
Throughout the night, each song and each story built upon one another to explain the importance of finding another person, the heartbreak that can accompany allowing another person into your life in such a way and the hope that someone out there is for you.
Even the classic bit, "Guy Noir: Private Eye" had the down-on-his-luck detective-watching love bloom.
The only way to fully understand why A Prairie Home Companion can sell out the Winspear without advertisement, or bring the entire audience to tears, laughter and two standing ovations, is to allow the program to latch onto your heart.
Keillor and his troupe present to their audience the grandeur of life in every aspect of it. From the heartbreak to the triumph, from the struggles of family and marriage to the joys of first kisses and infatuation, the honesty of the show and its willingness to carry hope in spite of everything have kept the show alive since 1974.
Next Saturday night, open your mind and your heart and tune in to discover a refreshing program that will remind you that life is always meaningful.