Friday, December 2, 2011

Janet Jackson Helps Raise $1Million for Our McCallum Theatre

Last night I went to see Janet Jackson in a special concert performance in support of the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. Just before the concert started, I saw Katherine Jackson, Janet's mother and Jermaine Jackson, her brother enter the theatre, which signaled that this was to be a special night. Over the years, I've attended quite a few of the McCallum's Annual Fundraising Gala events and regular season concerts, but this one was quite different. It was a full-fledged major rock concert show with major sound and light production and a cast of dancers and back up singers. The choreography was visually  interesting (although semi-provocative at times), with a smooth rhythm that complemented the music. Janet sang and danced throughout the concert with the energy of woman half her age. 

Janet genuinely seems to enjoy performing for a live audience; she is still as cute as ever. Her smile is infectious and makes you feel happy just seeing her on stage. There is no question Miss Jackson is hugely talented; I felt she gave a stand-out performance last night, singing primarily a range of her hit songs from her long career. At times it was difficult not to think about her brother Michael, whose music legacy endures boldly across the pop music landscape.Their similarities in voice, manner and presence was uncanny. Janet paid homage to her late brother in one of the later sets, which evoked a huge audience response.
A page from the Gala program
I was thrilled to hear that last night's event raised $1 million for the McCallum Theatre. The sold-out concert was a significant step in broadening the base of the McCallum's base. From my vantage point in the concert, I observed a bizarre blend of core (older) McCallum contributors grooving along with a much younger base of Janet fans. I suspect last night may have been the first time many of the younger fans in the audience had ever even considered buying a ticket at McCallum. 

Without a doubt there were some in the audience who perhaps didn't realize the type of music Janet Jackson performs. For that very small minority the volume proved too much, and they quietly exited after a few songs. That made more room for the rest of the audience who wanted to stand and dance. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of older McCallum attendees who stayed the entire night and did their best to appreciate a different music style.

I would imagine the choice of Janet Jackson as the headliner for their annual fundraising gala was considered to be quite a departure in style and genre for some if its core supporters. That being said, it is my opinion that this was a bold but very wise move, as they attracted the attention of a broad base of residents in the Coachella Valley who may be future patrons in the next generation. Or at the very least they will now have the McCallum on their radar as an entertainment venue in their hometown.

I can honestly say that I've been a Janet Jackson fan since I was a kid, but for some reason my iTunes account only had one of her albums. I enjoyed the concert enough that when I returned home, I purchased her current album Janet Jackson Number Ones. It was nice to be reacquainted with her long music career and relive my younger years, even if just for awhile.

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