"Concert on the Square", Madison, Wisconsin

POSTED: 30 July 2004 04:09

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Hayley Westenra
Hayley Westenra


Greetings fellow Hayley lovers!

As I write this I am sitting in Willard Public Library in my hometown, just a few blocks from Tony the Tiger's House (he makes those Sugar Frosted Flakes that Simon likes so much!). I am tired, but still higher than a kite from the concert on the Capital Lawn in Madison.

I arrived at 2:30 and pitched my blanket in front of a tree just next to the staging area. From there I slept and read and waited for the concert, that didn't start until 7:00. A little after six, however, there was Hayley doing her sound checks, and camera in hand I was able to get some nice shots of her in shades and jeans. The conductor of the concert was Andrew Sewell, who is also a Kiwi, and they seemed to hit it off pretty well (a graduate of THE University of Michigan too, very dear to my heart!).

The concert started at 7:00 with an instrumental number, and then proceeded through about five numbers in the first act. Hayley sang divinely, hitting notes and highs that the audience was just amazed were coming out of a young lady of seventeen. I am sorry I don't have the song list in here, but I will hopefully get the computer fixed at where I'm staying here in awhile and write again. I will give you more details then, and send some pics to Keith for all of you to share. Now about halfway through this act, there was another instrumental Ravel, and Hayley sat down about 10 feet in front of me. Here comes a little girl, CD in hand going straight for Hayley. Not to be outdone I followed her in. I got to meet here right there DURING the concert! She signed my CD and I was in total total awe! Oh, what a wonderful, dear, sweet, engaging lovely creature!

The second act was just as divine as the first, with Hayley dressed in a pretty flowing ball gown and looking radiant as ever. (Song details to come in a few hours). She closed with three encores, Who Painted the Moon Black, Pokarekare Ana and a reprise of Con Le Pariro (I think I spelled that right). She had a male tenor sing with her on some of the numbers, and he was excellent. Numerous standing ovations closed the program, and I can only tell you, that I will never every forget this night as long as I live. It truly was Pure Enchantment.

After the concert, young girls crowded the stage for more autographs. Me? I got an extreme close up shot of Hayley herself! It IS AWESOME!

At any rate, a more formal review will be forthcoming with lots of pics (as soon as I find a broadband connection!).

Now, there is another matter you all need to be aware of. Wisconsin Public Television taped this concert and it is airing in their market on Saturday July 31, 2004 at 6:00 PM local time. WPT cannot sell me this video (due to copyright regulations), but it can be taped off the air. I have tried to contact the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra to see if they could get me a copy but they have not returned my calls. So....

If you people want, I will pick up a VCR and go back to Wisconsin and tape this program. I want it THAT bad!
However, if any of you have some clout and can get us one (some) some other way, PLEASE exercise your power immediately! I will have to leave early in the morning if I am going to partake of this endeavour.
Yes, this is a four+ hour one way drive, a night in a motel and a new VCR but IT IS WORTH EVERY PENNY OF IT TO SEE AND HEAR HAYLEY AGAIN!

Anyway, I will need to know if any of you have better success in this than I have before I set out to do this in the morning. So please let me know. I will be sending Gary my phone number offlist, and I hope that someone can let me know one way or another if I need to proceed.

God Bless you all, God Bless Hayley and her family and God Bless the fine people of Madison WI for putting on this spectacular program. Talk to you all soon.

POSTED: 31 July 2004 10:22


Hayley appeared on July 28, 2004 as part of the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra's "Concerts on the Square" 2004 series. I was able to attend this performance (wearing my stunning Hayley Westenra International Sweatshirt), and this is my recollection of the delightful evening.

I arrived at the venue at 2:15 PM. The venue itself is the lawn of the Wisconsin State Capitol, and the performance is held on the Capitol Steps. I pitched a blanket on the lawn next to a tree, left of center stage and waited...over four hours for the concert to begin. Note the weather was absolutely perfect; sunny, about 75 degrees (F) and a nice breeze.

A few minutes after six, I looked up and there was Hayley, in Jeans and Sunglasses performing sound checks with the orchestra. With Camera in hand I was able to take a few pictures of this, including a very nice full vertical shot. Even the sound check was awesome. She was beautiful!

The concert then started promptly at 7:00 PM with the Orchestra performing an instrumental piece Ravel's "Minuet Antique". The orchestra was excellent, and the conductor, Mr. Andrew Sewell (he, himself a KIWI), was perfect.

Hayley then came onstage after the first number, wearing a pretty, simple green patterned dress. She then sang Bach/Gounod's "Ave Maria". The audience was transfixed on the large sound coming from this very small young woman! She performed flawlessly and efortlessly, like it was second nature for her to be there.

The next number was Andrew Lloyd-Webber's "All I Ask of You" She performed this number as a duet with James Doing, a faculty member in the School of Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Their voices blended cleanly and clearly, diction was excellent and the audience was again popping their eyes out in disbelief at what they were hearing.

Hayley then sang Ravel's "Never Say Goodbye". Her tenderness in tone and voice on this number was clear, and I was almost in tears. Hayley was standing a mere 15 yards or less in front of me, singing her heart out!

The orchestra then performed an instrumental number to give Hayley a rest; Ravel's "Rigaudon". I must admit the music sounded great, but this was when I was seeking Hayley to get my CD autographed. She had sat down next to the stone railing not 15 feet in front of me. A little girl with her CD in hand moved towards her and not to be left out I followed her in! Glory be, what a wonderful, divine, beautiful young lady! I still shudder in awe at meeting Hayley and getting that autograph. It was truly an enchanted evening.

Hayley then closed the first act by singing Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Time to Say Goodbye" as a duet with James. Their voices blended harmoniously, the orchestration was excellent and the audience was astounded!

After intermission, the Orchestra opened the second act with Ravel's "Prelude from Le Tombeau de Couperin".
Another outstanding performance by this wonderful and talented orchestra.

Hayley then came out for the second half in a flowing ball type gown that had silver all over it. She looked like a princess! Her first number was Vivaldi's "River of Dreams". Again, she nailed this song perfectly, the audience was so under her spell by then that you could look about anywhere and see them wide eyed and in awe!

She ended her portion of the main program with an excellent performance of Amazing Grace. I suspect there were tears of sheer joy coming from the audience. They sure were from me.

The orchestra ended the second act with Tchaikovsky "Capricco Italien, OP 45". Conductor Sewell was brillant in his direction of the very talented musicians performing this difficult number.

After numerous curtain calls, Hayley came back for an encore. She sang first "Who Painted the Moon Black" I could only stand there in pure amazement watching her, so beautiful, so poised, so talented knocking the socks off of the audience with this performance. Next she sang "Pokarekare Ana" which she explained to them was a Maori (Native New Zealand) love song. By then the audience was overwhelmed by the talents of this gorgeous young lady!

The program ended with James and Hayley reprising Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Time to Say Goodbye". Sadly, it was. The audience was on it's feet, I personally was crying tears of pure joy and I don't believe I will ever experience something as powerful as this again as long as I live (unless I go see Hayley somewhere else!).

After the program was over, young girls flooded to the left side of the stage where Hayley sat down, and she immediately turned her attention to them, giving them autographs and signing CD's. I took my last picture of her during that time, a tight close-up that I hope Keith will be putting up on HWI (along with this review).

So ends the evening in Madison. Pure Enchantment. And so it was!

Master Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight and Defender of the Universe.

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