Sherry's Rockapella Trip Report

October 17, 2002

The Carriage House Theater--Saratoga, CA

Angela and I didn't have very much of a peaceful night's sleep after the Cupertino show. Her tummy hurt, and I was worried about her when I couldn't find her in the hotel. Everything was fine, though, and we did finally get a little bit of sleep.

Angela wanted to get a new outfit, so we went to Valley Fair mall. Seems like that mall is getting more sparse every time I go there. Angela went into a store and tried on a bunch of clothes, many of which I recommended she try on. She was like my life-sized Barbie doll, willing to try on whatever. While she tried on clothes, I called my brother to tell him that I was thinking about him and his wife, with whom I had last been to this mall, to pick up their wedding rings and his tux. OK, everyone say, "Awww...."

Anyway, outfit in hand, Angela was ready to buy some shoes. We went to several places before going to Macy's. Well, lo and behold, they were having a shoe sale. NOT good for Sherry's wallet! As Angela was browsing, I found a really pretty pair of gray suede shoes that seemed to match the outfit I had packed. I stared at them for a minute and the salesman asked if I needed help. I asked for more time to stare, so that I could envision my skirt colors. Well, I couldn't resist them anymore, tried them on, and bought the beautiful shoes. Ang bought a nice pair, too. Thanks, Macy's! Too bad the shoes I found WEREN'T on sale, as is usually the case with me.

We ate lunch at a salad buffet place in the mall, and there were interesting people at the next table. I don't remember all the details, but an elderly lady and her entire family were involved, and Ang & I kept grinning at each other. We went to a couple of other stores for necessities and snacks for our road trip home before returning to the hotel.

After getting all dolled up and checking out of the hotel, we made our way to the venue. Of course, we had to get lost first because it was dark and our directions were weird.

The Carriage House Theater is on the grounds of a winery, and is one of three theaters on the property. Deer grazed at the side of the road, and we wished it had been daylight so that we could enjoy some of the scenery. The parking situation was strange because the valet guys couldn't decide whether or not we could park our own cars, and three of them stood around one car, discussing the matter. Of course, it was really dark anyway, so when they did let me park, we didn't know what to do, because they weren't guiding us with cool flashlights.

We walked up a hill, over a little bridge, all in our new heels, but the landscape was pretty, even in the dark. Outside the lobby of the venue, wine was available. Nice! The theater itself is quite intimate, about 300 nice, cushiony seats. Angela sat in the front row, and I sat in the 2nd row, on the right side. MJ & Ross ended up a few rows behind me, also on the right side, so that Ross could take pictures. I called him "Jimmy Olsen" that night, because Phil had granted him the freedom to move around and take pictures, even going backstage before the show. Donna was seated at the left hand side and I made sure to greet her as well.

The opening act, another a capella group named "Hookslide," was cool. Cute, too. They were recording the concert for a live CD, so we made sure to appreciate them loudly. Angela and I have decided that maybe we'd end up on everybody's live CD one day, since this is now the 2nd concert we've been to of that distinction.

Rockapella entered the stage, wearing suits. Sigh! They really look great that way. Of course, with all the lights and activity, Kevin's jacket came off first, so that he could Dance in the Streets (and in the audience) with freedom.

El talked about his sister-in-law, who grew up on a horse farm nearby in nearby Woodside. He also talked about a hike he took up in the redwoods on the winery grounds. Jeff commented that Bambi does not roam freely there; they were enclosed.

During "Let's Get Away," I noted that both El & Scott changed their scats. It's always nice to know that they never let their music get boring for themselves or their audience. They're always trying new stuff, new chords, new notes. Nice.

After "Use Me," Kevin was trying to talk, and Jeff kept interrupting him, to the point that Kevin did a little vocal percussion to speak in Jeff-language, so that he could understand the word "no." Kev then demonstrated that our boys are always prepared, pulling out a Sharpie from his sock.

During "Smile in My Heart," Jeff smiled at Angela! George has a nice solo on that one.

After "sitting through all those loathsome songs," (Scott's words), they treated us to Pella's greatest hit, AKA "Folger's Rockin' Morning."

El's turn to talk was entertaining again. He was distracted by the dust motes floating in the spotlight, letting us into "the inner workings of [his] mind." He announced, "My Scottish wife is pregnant again." After the applause, one of the guys asked, "What does your American wife think about that?" He answered, "She's pregnant also. In New York, we have harems." El, you're too cute.

For "Long Cool Woman," Scott and El took off their jackets, you know, so we could watch all their fancy choreography. :)

Then it came time for Kevin to jump off the stage. He walked to the right side, touched my shoulder and said hi to me. He walked up a few more rows, and introduced himself to the lady seated there. I can't remember her name, because way too much happened after that. Kevin finished greeting the woman, then walked back to me and said, "And what is YOUR name?" I said, "Sherry" and he said, "Sherry. How's Sherry, George?" George smiled and nodded, and started singing the intro to "My Girl." I looked at Angela with wide eyes and said, "NO." Angela squealed and said, "YES!" and Kevin held out his hand, asking me to join him. "OH MY GOD!" I thought to myself, feeling like I had just been crowned Miss America. I mean, my palms were on my face and everything. Too funny. So, there we are, in front of the stage, Kevin is singing to me with his arm around me, I'm hearing the guys sing in back of me... I put my arm around Kev, look at the audience, and mouth "Oh My God" to Angela as she beams right back at me, and I hear MJ screaming. I'm in Pella Pusher Heaven.

Kevin asked me to get on stage with him. Mind you, the stage was at a higher level than my knees, and I'm wearing a short skirt. I looked at my skirt, looked at the stage, hiked up my skirt, and jumped on up there. Laughter ensued as I embarrassingly pulled my skirt back down and waved to the audience. Kevin introduced me to the guys, as if I'd never met them before, or eaten cake with them LAST NIGHT. Jeff asked me, "Come here often?" & I said, "Shut up!" as he grinned. George said hello in his deep, sexy voice, as if I wasn't about to fall over already with excitement.

Then it was time to sit on the special Rockapella stool, which they carry around to each show. (wink!) Kevin led me to the stool that Scott placed at center stage, and Scott teased, "Good luck with the skirt." "Shut Up!" I answered. (I don't think I've ever said that phrase to any of the Pella guys before, much less twice in one night, but I was losing it anyway). So I carefully sat down and Kevin said, "Sherry. Is that like in Sherry Sherry Bo Berry? Because I know that song." I laughed and might have even told HIM to shut up, too! I don't know. I've lost track. He said, "So, Sherry, what do you do?" In my head, I thought, "You KNOW what I do--we talked about this LAST NIGHT." But instead I smiled and said, "I sing, and I work for the State of California." I don't think that Kevin even heard the last part of my sentence, because while I was talking, he walked over to Scott and the others, saying, "She sings!" Scott walked up to me and said, "Would you like to sing 'Stand By Me'?" I don't think I waited more than a half-second before enthusiastically answering, "OK!"

Scott handed me his microphone. George started the introduction. I started a couple of bars too early, "When the night has come..." but he realized what I was doing, and caught up. Professionals, I tell ya! Thankfully, Scott anticipated my nervousness and whispered the lyrics to me as I sang..."No, I won't be afraid, just as long as you stand, stand by me..." Scott stood right by me, and I smiled, almost telling him to shut up, but he wasn't saying anything. I realized that it was my moment. "Sherry," I thought, "TAKE IT!" I sang, "So darlin', darlin', Stand By Me," totally singing out and putting aside all my nervousness. The audience responded with a roar of approval. Scott told me to stand up, and there I was, singing my heart out, with my favorite band BACKING ME UP!!! I looked into the audience, heard my friends screaming, and sang a little more. Then I realized that I don't actually know the lead part when I sing along with my Rockapella CD's: I jump from one part to the other. Even with Scott telling me the words, I forgot the lyrics to the next verse! So I said into the microphone, "I don't know the lead! I'm going to sing Kevin's part now," and walked over to sing beside Kevin. The audience laughed. I kept dancing with the guys, singing and giggling. I finally got back into the lead during the refrain, and completed the rest of the song, all the while thinking," My God, this is a dream come true."

After the song was over, I drank in the applause, Kevin raised my hand, and I bowed. But wait! It wasn't over! After what seemed like an hour on stage already, I was still asked to sit back down on the stool! "Oh, yeah," I thought, "I'm Pretty Woman tonight!" But before Kev could say anything, Jeff walked up, took my hand, and kissed the back of it. SWOOON! "Wow," I mouthed to him. So Kevin said that they had a special song they wanted to sing for me. He got down on one knee, sang about Sherry in the purple shirt, and finished with a loud "HEY!", making a gesture that was almost like a karate chop. This startled me. He laughed and said that he ended the song a little abruptly.

Then they started singing "Pretty Woman." Breathe, Sherry, breathe! Kevin's singing to you! Jeff's petting your head! "Pretty Woman, give your smile to me..." and I beamed at Scott, causing him to smile back. Oh, there's Scott, flexing! OK, Scott, I'll dance with you! We were butt-to-butt at one point, which had the audience laughing. Then Scott said, "What you do now is...well, you know what to do, right?" I said yes, and he said, "OK, do it," and I sauntered over to Kevin, tapped him on the shoulder, he twirled me around, and we bowed. SIGH! Then he got a "Smilin'" CD, said to me, "Do you already have one of these?" I giggled, "yes," and he said, "Well, here's another one." Then he walked me to the edge of the stage, and I asked, "How am I going to get down?" Instead of the practical way of going backstage, he said, "Here's what we'll do." Well, he jumped off the stage, lifted me at the waist, and carried me down to the floor. "Awww," everyone said. SWOON again! Oh, my goodness! Angela couldn't wait for after the show & hugged me in front of the audience before I could get to my seat. At that moment when I sat down, all I could think was, "I've GOT to call everyone I know RIGHT NOW."

Of course, I couldn't actually do that. Not only would it be extremely rude, but also because I can't leave a room when the guys are singing. Besides, they were about to sing the actual "Stand By Me," and I needed to hear how I should have sung it! After they sang the song, Scott said, "Thanks, but Sherry sang it better." Yeah, RIGHT! But he sure made me blush when he said that. I felt like I would never get off that cloud.

So now back to the guys. Scott talked about losing "Testosteroneal" Barry and finding George. George really does add a nice sound, although I miss Barry.

They took requests from their long-time fans. Donna requested "Keep on Smilin'," but apparently Scott didn't feel like he could sing that high that night. So Scott asked MJ (and I thought, he's calling my friend's name FROM THE STAGE!), and she requested "Shambala," which made many of us extremely happy to hear live again. Yay! Some people yelled out "ZOMBIE," and George said, "I don't really know it, but I'm gonna try."

Zombie was hilarious. He didn't know how to say the intro, which threw off the guys, because they were waiting for their cue, "Manhattan!" George kept watching the other guys for the choreography. He even followed Scott during the limbo bit! At one point, El said, "Now, spin!" and he did, not realizing that he was spinning all alone. Great effort, George! We were all in stitches.

After the show, one gal asked if I knew I was going to be chosen. I told her that I had no idea, and she said she thought I was a plant because it was so fun. Thanks! So, I had Ang & I called Liz to tell her about it, and then I told Liz that I had bought new shoes. Liz is convinced that the shoes brought me luck, so I need to buy new shoes for every concert. I called my brother and sis-in-law. Bro was asleep, which is understandable because they're on the East Coast and for them, it was 1:00 a.m. When Veronica told him, he mumbled something and went back to sleep. V was happy, though, and couldn't believe that I actually got to sing with them, too! (She told me that the next day, when she asked Ryan if he heard her during my phone call, he said, "Yeah, she was Pretty Woman." She said, "Did you hear what else I said?" "No." "She SANG with ROCKAPELLA!" He excitedly responded, "SHE SANG WITH ROCKAPELLA?!!!" and they both jumped up and down with joyous enthusiasm. So, yes, they were quite happy for me).

I was told that the line was dying down and needed to get my CD signed, so I went to the table and the guys said, "There's our Pretty Woman! The star!" SIGH! Scott said that they were thinking of adding a female voice at one point, and tonight was proof that it would sound good. Jeff said, "Darlin', you're a natural." Swoon! I told Kev, "I thought you were going to pick that other lady!" Jeff said, "He tricked you!" I told them all my feelings of taking my moment to shine, forgetting the words, and all that. I asked Scott to write something so that I could tell that it was my Pretty Woman CD. He wrote, "To Sherry--our 6th member." OK, let me tell you that I didn't see that until way later, and when I did, I squealed with delight and awe.

The Hookslide guys talked to Pella, as well as to us, and said they wished I was more local so they could hear me with them. Me, too. I'd love that. One of them said that I was very good about saying first that I was a singer, and I told him that that's how it is in my heart, anyway. Well, look where it got me!

So the venue people were trying to clear everyone out. One of them said to Jeff, "do you want us to get rid of these people for you?" Jeff said, "No, that's OK. These guys are the other group, these are our roadies, and these others are our friends." I don't think he knew that we were listening. Ang's jaw dropped halfway to the ground. I mentally told myself to calm down before I had a heart attack from all the excitement. Sweet of Jeff to call us that.

When we were done talking about our next journey (to So Cal), the guys told us to drive carefully. We told them to do the same on their drive.

On the trek back to the car, I called my friend, Rudy. I said, "Rudy, what's the only reason I'd call you so late at night, after a Rockapella concert?" He said, in full The-Universe-revolves-around-me-because-I'm-a-tenor mode, "Sher, if you tell me that they're waiting to talk to me on the phone..." At that point, I almost dropped my cell phone in astonishment. My big night, and he's thinking of WHOM? I answered with irritation, "No, Rudy, what's the OTHER reason I would call you this late after a Rockapella concert?" Finally, he realized it, and ran all through his house, saying the same expletive over and over again. It was hilarious. I changed in the dark parking lot, out of my skirt and into some comfortable clothes for the 5-hour drive home. I got off the phone, and after finding out how to get the heck out of there, I just plain screamed. I couldn't believe it had just happened. Angela screamed, too. "You were Pretty Woman!" "I sang with Rockapella!" "We're their friends!" (OK, I actually yelled a little more than that, but we're keeping this family-friendly here).

We were pretty much awake for the entire drive home, since we kept reliving the evening, and I kept screaming. I think I had about an hour of nap time before reporting to work. It didn't matter. I beamed at my desk all day, sitting on Cloud 82. I'll never forget that night. Thank you, Rockapella, for one of the best times of my life. Thinking about that night brings a huge smile to my face every time I think of it. You are just simply THE BEST! I adore you.

--Sherry

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