Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bad Ass Opera Fan at 16

Who remembers how bad ass you felt at age sixteen? I remember every moment. I grew up in the middle of corn country, Carroll Iowa. During the summers I worked in the fields detasseling and rouging corn. It was tough work, but rewarding. At the end of one of those summers, I decided I needed to buy myself a cool car. My friend Tre and I went to the bank and asked to withdraw ten one-hundred-dollar bills. What would be better than handing over a wad of cash? How about handing over a fresh roll of ironed money. That’s right, we went back to my house to bust out the ironing board and iron them so they were crisp. The car I was eying was a 1980 Mustang. It was painted Corvette black with red pin stripe. The transaction went as planned except the chuckle we received from the seller once he saw our bank roll. We were now true players.

The car was the bomb, but it needed one additional element. A kick ass system. We went to work adding tweets, mids, amps, and removing the entire back seat and replacing it with two 15 inch subs. We would bump up and down the town drag blasting Beastie Boys, Run DMC, ZZ Top, and every Hip Hop/Rap album you could think of. At the end of the night I would drop the crew off and head for home, but not before I had a chance to play the ultimate disc. Under my seat I kept my most prized possession. Pavarotti in Hyde Park. It felt great to crank that sound and sing along. There was nothing better than hitting those money notes with Pavarotti. It was as if this powerful, black car was channeling Pav’s powerful voice. The black muscle car representing an opera legend in a black tux. I’ll never forget those clear summer nights in the Stang.

I would have known nothing about opera if it hadn’t been for my high school choral director. He let me borrow discs and expanded my understanding of classical music. Who would have thought that a wanna be R & B singer would be so passionate about opera. Fresco Opera Theatre wants to open those same doors to new opera audiences. If opera can hook a kid with orange shoes, gold chains, and sub box for a backseat, it can certainly hook you. As the 16 year old kid in me would say. I give props to Mr. Doug Sweeney (Sweenster) for broadening my world.


  1. That powerful voice of Pavarotti certainly was appropriate for the powerful sound system in that powerful looking car!
    I can point to at least one person in my life who also mentored me to a certain extent - and gave me the gift of understanding classical music. I wonder how many other people with stories of the "Sweensters" of their lives there are out there?

  2. Thank you for sharing that...everyone has a is our choice to REMEMBER what it is...