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TobyMac Concert in Phoenix

For my twelfth birthday, Mom and I went to a TobyMac concert with my friend Cali and her mom. TobyMac, for those of you who don’t know, is a Christian hip hop artist. One of my favorites. There were five other Christian artists in the concert as well, all of whom are under his label.

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Image by Lillian Dumas.

At 5:00 we got on the train and rode until we reached the Phoenix Suns Stadium, where the concert was being held. We got there about 6:00 and the concert wasn’t until 7:00, but it took a while to get to our seats. When we finally got there, Cali and I took a few selfies to pass the time and speculated about the coming music.

It started out with two songs from Hollyn. She’s this really cool girl singer, and she’s pretty new. Hollyn’s one of my top five favorite singers now, but I hadn’t heard of her before then. She sang Alone, and All I Need is You. The latter is actually my favorite song by Lacrae, a Christian rap artist.

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Image from I Am Hollyn on Facebook.

After her came Colton Dixon, an awesome guy with an awesome bleached mohawk. It was really hard to hear some of the lyrics because the music was so loud, and I figured out how to filter out background noise! All you have to do is press down on that little skin flap on the front of your ear, and you can hear way better!

Colton Dixon played five songs, the names of which I can’t remember, and then Finding Favour came on. I did spell it the English way on purpose. They did five songs as well. By this time I was getting fairly used to the volume of things, but once I made the mistake of covering my ears; when I uncovered them it was really loud.

Casting Crowns played next. I’d heard them a lot, but I didn’t know many of their songs really well. And then Building 429 came on. I hadn’t heard of them before, but I really like them now.

Britt Nicole, I think, had put on the best show so far. She had break dancers, and did things like falling off the stage into their arms while she sang. Britt did two songs that I knew, and then four more that I didn’t know.

After these five artists there was an intermission: it had already been about two hours! We stretched, and talked, and walked around. I couldn’t believe it was already 9 o’ clock!

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Image by Mom.

After a twenty-minute intermission, we returned for the main event. TobyMac did another two hours!! I knew almost every song, and it was so fun! Hollyn is actually in TobyMac’s band, so she was up on stage then, too. I remember listening to those songs years ago, and thinking how cool it would be to see them performed live. It’s so cool that those daydreams came true!

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Image by Lillian Dumas.

The whole thing was so incredible I can’t really describe it. If you’ve been to a big concert, you understand that sort of dumbfounded amazement. If you haven’t, all I can say is, you’ve never properly understood the word “loud,” or that particular sort of excitement that goes with carefully engineered noise.

Header image from Talking Stick Resort

A Crazy Christmas Celebration

Cottonwood, Arizona is a tiny town. You would think, from driving through it, that it was totally empty of anything interesting. And you’d be right. Almost.

Now, maybe if you were there at Christmas time you would look for something to do. Just in case there was anything. And then, you would find the Celebration of Christmas by efProductions. It’s kind of… Wowing.

The whole thing started off with a vigorous round of the “12 Days of Christmas,” and then fell into a Dickens-ish sort of musical. After a few minutes an angel was introduced.  She had come to earth to spark happiness into the lives of the people.

The show continued along quite normally (except for the horse-drawn sleigh riding through the isles), until there was a dream sequence. And you probably know what happens when there’s a dream sequence. Things get interesting. A giant light up train was pulled through the gaps between seating rows, and then there was a disco ball being hit with laser lights up at the ceiling. Confetti shot into the faces of the people in the middle rows, and toy army men slid down a rope descending from the ceiling. There were ballerinas and dancing and music and I can’t even remember everything that happened. But then they brought in the animals. Alpacas, a horse, a zebra, a donkey,  lambs, until I wouldn’t be surprised if a kangaroo got loose in the orchestra. Seriously, I knew I wouldn’t be surprised because it actually happened and I wasn’t a bit astonished.
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Finally the sleeping person woke up, and it was intermission. I just sat there trying to digest it all. After the break they played out the baby Jesus story. It was actually kind of what you’d expect, until the wise men came. RIDING CAMELS!! Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement. Only two were riding camels, but they were huge. They were each followed by their own processions, including people who held flaming sticks and twirled them, and people who held up canopies to protect people’s heads from the burning sun (kind of unnecessary, seeing as it was the dead of night in a building in December). Another procession came following their king, who was riding on a peacock feather covered chariot.

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There were more songs, and acrobats, and dancing, and things coming out of the ceiling. We went over everything that came out of the ceiling afterwords, and determined that at least nine different things came out. That’s nine different things, not nine individual
things. There were usually at least three of each thing. If you’re ever in Cottonwood at Christmas time in need of a crazy Christmas celebration, I advise you to go. It’ll give you something to talk about for days afterwards.