|Imagine being presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: the chance for two to attend a musical performance—a concert, dance or festival--anywhere in the world, with all expenses paid to include show tickets, roundtrip airfare, overnight accommodations and dinner. What would you do? See Sir Elton John? Paul McCartney? The Vienna Boys Choir? Maybe Hamilton, the hottest show on Broadway? These were the possibilities that danced through our heads after receiving the news that one of the two tickets we bought from Bill’s sister, chorale member Barbara Brooks, had been declared the winner in the Midcoast Community Chorus’ “Dream Raffle.”
It took just a few days of pondering the array of choices before us that we totally shifted our thinking. Instead of “Who should we see?”, we asked, “Who’s performing at the Sydney Opera House, preferably in October?” That was the mindset that led us to Sydney, Australia, where we attended a performance of Postmodern Jukebox, or simply, PMJ.
“Who?” We got a lot of that when we told friends about our unbelievable fortune, then the musical selection we’d made. But for some time, we’d been fans of the YouTube phenomenon that’s topped the iTunes and Billboard charts with its vintage presentation of popular modern music.
PMJ’s current “Welcome to the Twenties 2.0 Tour” is hitting 250 cities around the world. The Sydney performance, presented in the Concert Hall, the largest of seven theaters in the Opera House, was a complete sell-out.
We arrived in Sydney a couple days ahead of the concert so we could rest up after more than 20 hours of flying time from Tampa. The day of the show, we checked into the historic Sir Stamford Hotel Mim Bird had booked for us, just up the street from the Opera House and across the street from the Royal Botanic Garden. In addition to concert tickets, Mim arranged for us to tour the Opera House building – a stunning architectural marvel overlooking Sydney Harbor that’s been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We then enjoyed an early dinner at the Opera House Bar, an open-air café at the harbor’s edge, before the show.
The show was everything we had hoped—fun, high-energy, exciting. Accompanied by piano, horns, stand-up bass and drums, the singers alternated between sassy and sultry in their Roaring 20s renditions of pop numbers. “Benny and the Jets” took on jazzy notes reminiscent of The Great Gatsby. “Uptown Funk” sizzled with a swing-era vibe. The audience was transformed to another era – and loved it, cheering thunderously and begging for more when the band left the stage.
After the show, we paused to admire the majestic Opera House, now all lit up against the backdrop of the Sydney nightscape, and reflected on our experience. Words will never fully convey our gratitude to the Midcoast Community Chorus for awarding us an adventure we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Bill and Donna Miles