Saturday night in downtown Columbus was a perfect night for me. We have been trying for what seems like years to get dear friends, Doctors Janie and Danny King from Eufaula, Ala., to shoehorn us into their busy, busy schedules and come to Columbus for an evening of dinner and entertainment. These guys are really busy with their internal medicine family practice and a robust list of Eufaula social obligations. We love being with them and Saturday night was a perfect storm of perfect for me.
Even though they have been to Columbus many times over the years, they aren’t familiar with Columbus neighborhoods and many of the newest amenities that are coming online in our fair city. Until Saturday, Danny hasn’t even seen the inside of the Bill Heard Theatre at RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. My absolutely favorite thing to do is to get my hands on someone who isn’t familiar with Columbus. I get to regale them with stories of the people and places of our area, the public/private partnerships that have shaped our landscape, our river, the beauty of MidTown, the new west bank jewels in Phenix City, new restaurants, the longest continually-performing symphony orchestra in America, our hotels and venues, downtown shopping and the promise of many more great things to come.
The Piano Men show with our Columbus Symphony Orchestra was so damn good. I sang along and chair danced my way through the two and a half hour long show. The CSO provided the perfect backdrop to the timeless music of Billy Joel and Elton John, performed flawlessly by a Canadian dude, a couple of side men and a local sax player they added to the show for a few numbers. If CSO conductor George Del Gobbo was put off by having to play an evening of pop music, he didn’t show it. He hammed it up with the Piano Men performers and seemed to be having a great time. Doing shows like this makes our symphony so much more approachable by folks that aren’t so much into classical symphonic music and I think these shows help people connect with this hugely important cultural resource.
We ran into Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Brian Anderson, his wife Heather and his sister, Whitney, from Charleston, S.C. twice during the evening. They had as much fun as we did, it seems, despite last night’s chilly and blustery weather. I was a little bit disappointed that the streets of downtown weren’t quite as busy as a usual Saturday night. Broadway is a vibrant, exciting place to be on most weekends.
Way to go, Columbus! Our Eufaula friends were wowed by what they saw here on Saturday. I’m sure this is a scenario shared by many who come here for a visit and fall in love with this bend in the river. I’d call this a Chamber of Commerce kind of night. Wouldn’t you, Brian?