Ivan and Alyosha – A Magical Saturday Afternoon

Sometimes something happens that is completely unexpected and magical. How these things find us and show up in our reality is a bit of a mystery. Maybe it’s because we’re asking for it to show up somehow or we’re living our life in a certain way that opens the door for the possibility to arise. Maybe it’s a gift from God.

Whatever the reason, I’m beyond grateful for these moments. They don’t happen all the time but honestly I think they may show up more often than we realize. This is because not only do we have to be aware of them showing up but we have to be willing to grab hold and enjoy the ride when they do.

I had one of the moments the week before Saturday. I woke up on Friday morning to a text from one of my friends. She’s a really nice woman who I would qualify as being a little reserved on the outside but a little wild on the inside. She’s a numbers person with a creative flare. She has a son that will be going to middle school with my oldest and we’ve known each other since our boys were little, playing soccer together with “Little Kickers” when they were just about 4 years old.

I’ve always known she was a music lover and have been invited several times to musical performances. I’ve only made one of these events with her over the years which is sad to admit as I love music and performances. But, back to the text I woke up to on Friday. She asked if I had ever heard of the band ‘Ivan and Alyosha’. She attached a couple of YouTube links to songs and said that she was seeing them perform in SF that night. Then she said that she had reached out to them to ask if they ever did house party performances, to which they responded, “yes, and we happen to be free this weekend”. Their price to play was beyond reasonable and now she just needed to find a backyard for the performance. She was asking me if we would be open to it.

I read her text a couple of times and called her back. I had to ask if she was serious or if someone had hijacked her phone. She confirmed that yes, in fact she was serious and in need of a place for the band to perform either Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I told her I would listen to the music, talk to Matt and call her back.

I didn’t even listen to one full song before I was on the phone calling Matt. I knew that we were standing in a crazy, beautiful moment and that we needed to somehow make this happen. The music was great. The sound of their voices, the melody, the lyrics…all of it together was magical. When I talked to Matt I’m not even sure what I said because it seemed so crazy. He was a ‘no’ at first as we already had a party planned for Sunday and the thought of two parties in one weekend just seemed nuts. I told him to listen to the music and then tell me what he thought.

With Matt being a musical human being, he took one listen and felt the same way I had. He knew this band was something special and we just had to figure out how to make this work. I called Michelle, who had texted me a few times in between telling me that sometimes you just had to “seize the moment”. I was almost giddy as I told her we were in. Saturday afternoon at 4 was the time and now we had to invite some people to make it happen.

Cut to Saturday. Matt and I cleaned up the house, I bought new cushions for our patio furniture and Michelle came with a car load of food and drinks. This was really happening!! People started to arrive and if I’m completely truthful, there was a small part of me that didn’t think this band was actually going to show up. But, lo and behold, they did. I walked out the front of my house to find 7 people unloading out of cars and wandering toward me. 5 members of the band, the wife of one of the members and the musician that they performed with the night before that tagged along.

Introductions were made, we welcomed them into our home and then for the next 30-45 minutes, we just hung out, talking, laughing and drinking “brown water” as Tim put it. He’s the lead of the band. We got to know them a bit as we talked about our kids, where they were from and how the Friday night performance was their last night of their tour.

And just like that, it was time for them to play. They walked over to the nook in our yard where we had them set up and they started. Everyone was quiet, even the 15 or more children that were there. People sat in chairs, on picnic blankets, the edges of our garden and all around. Matt was taking video and I was shooting stills. I had to stop every now and again and take a breath and soak it all in. There were so many moments of disbelief that I had to work through because it was so special. Tim, the lead, has the most beautiful voice. He sang and played the guitar while everyone harmonized to his sound. One large drum, one electric guitar, a second acoustic guitar and a tambourine and shaker rounded out the group.

When I looked around at the faces of the people watching, some that I knew, some that I didn’t, everyone had this peaceful, blissful look. It was pure enjoyment to be witnessing something so beautiful. Even the children were quiet. They played for a little more than an hour and I wished it could have gone on all night. They had to be in SF at 8pm and needed to eat so they had to stop playing, but I truly wished it would have gone on and on.

After the performance they shared food around our dining table. Michelle provided an incredible spread for them to feast on and other people brought food and drink as well, creating a beautiful buffet to enjoy. They gifted Michelle, Matt and I both vinyl and cd’s of their two albums. We had them each sign the copies while other people purchased records and cd’s. It was nothing short of amazing. All of it.

I know this isn’t new to some, a backyard concert, but it was new to us. We’re sold. It was such an intimate way to not only meet the band but get to know a little bit about them. I know that Michelle felt nuts asking us to host this party but I’m SO glad she did. It was a great lesson for her as well. The big lesson of “you’ll never have if you don’t ask” and “why not ask!” was the takeaway.

Michelle, we’re so glad you reached out. This was such an amazing experience and everyone who was here and shared in the joy walked away changed for the better.

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