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When I first watched the video of Alice Tan Ridley singing on America’s Got Talent, I had the same reaction as the judges: surprise, awe and a shiver of joy. When I met Ms. Ridley (pictured above), I was struck by her infectious smile.
She told me as I interviewed her that through all the years she spent singing in parks and subway stations in New York City, what she discovered was that she was “in the joy business.” She was meant to bring joy to all of us here on earth with her, she said.
The next day, I interviewed Joanie Madden, the organizing force behind Cherish the Ladies. She said that she and her fellow musicians love it when they see generations of the same family sitting together in the audience, smiling and laughing together. Again, Joanie’s smile brought one to my face. The joy she takes in her music and performing it for people all over the world overwhelmed the laryngitis she had that Friday for our interview.
Both those women are coming to Popejoy Hall, of course. Joanie arrives with Cherish the Ladies on December 18th. Alice joins the Cab Calloway Orchestra on our stage January 15th.
Another woman right here in Albuquerque also makes her passion her business: Noberta Fresquez. She produces the annual Mariachi Spectacular and Mariachi Christmas. The latter will be in Popejoy for its 13th year this Sunday. Noberta loves the bright, cheery music of Mexico and creates as many opportunities as she can for all of us to celebrate it with her. And just as with Alice and Joanie, her warm smile spreads instantly to your face.
These three women seem very happy pursuing their destiny. They chose not to deny their desire to bring music to the lives of others, either as performer or producer.
Lots of Albuquerqueans do the same every day. If you go to the events page of this web site, the calendar is full of shows for you to attend. That's always true — there's a very active performing arts scene in our city — but it's particularly true this time of year. We love to celebrate Christmas and the holidays with singing, dancing and dramatic presentations.
I would bet that if you were to watch the performers from any one of these shows before or after the performance — and quite often during — you'd find those very contagious smiles filling their faces.
Seek out a performance to attend in the next couple of weeks for the very specific purpose of catching one of those smiles. Or give the gift of a future performance to someone. We have tickets for sale for upcoming shows as well as gift certificates. I'm sure you could make the same arrangement with almost any group in town. Spreading those joyous and contagious smiles to times other than the holiday season is a great gift to us all.
Terry S. Davis