It’s a Big Deal.

For those of you who don’t know this genius by face alone, this is Eric Whitacre, my favorite choral composer.
6 years, I have waited to meet him.
4 weeks, I’ve been counting down to see him conduct this concert.

17 days, I agonized over this humble 10″x10″ canvas upon which I purposed to portray a sliver of his works in color.
5 hours, we drove from Olympia to Corvallis through torrential rain.
2 blissful hours, we sat through a glorious, magical concert of some of the most brilliant music ever composed.
1 hour, we waited. Long after most of the impatient autograph-hecklers had left empty-handed. Then we crept backstage, where the ever-patient Eric was tirelessly signing flimsy beige programs and wrapping a friendly arm around fan after fan for photos.

Eric’s beautiful (and super nice!) wife, Hila.

“1 minute,” said Eric’s lovely wife Hila as a warning to the swarm of eager fans who were still clustered around him. I sized up the remaining group and held back tears, realizing that there was no way I would be able to get to him in that one minute. But my persistent husband pushed me through to the front of the mass.

And then it happened.

I was face to face with one of my all-time musical heroes and inspirations.

“Can I borrow that?” I asked, directing my question to the red Sharpie he was using for autographs. He offered it generously and I marked the canvas with a flourish. “There,” I said. “You can have MY autograph.”

Introductions were made. We shook hands. I explained that I had indeed painted this myself, and that it was indeed just for him and inspired by his work, and then he asked me to point out which parts of the painting were inspired by which songs, which I eagerly did.

I asked for a photo, and he obliged–giving me two.

Levi introduced himself and as we parted, Eric left us with, “You guys are the coolest couple ever.”

I’d say it was a pretty good day.