Miami, Florida

This is one place where it is OK to do it for ourselves — and for each other. Deliver standing ovations. Lots of them. In fact, one or more for everyone!

Living in Minnesota, I should have joined the crowd long ago to deliver the customary standing ovation for everything. The way I learned it, we were to hold back and save standing ovations as our highest acclaim for the truly exceptional accomplishment. Cultural cur that I sometimes am, I believed that if everything was special, then nothing was.

However, not one to stand, or sit, on principle when a rhetorical and relative point can be made, I am modifying my thinking. Standing ovations are not about, or mostly not about, the objects of our applause. They are about us: the clappers and the ovationers. All of us are accomplished and exceptional!

Ovations are part of fun, carefree celebrations. Sometimes, they even are about accomplishment. If you are present, you just know.

Standing Os are happening, on average, every 30 minutes in Miami this week as 5,000 choral delegates gather in concert halls and ballrooms to hear each other’s best musical efforts and to cheer each other on.

Festival 2008, is the eighth and latest quadrennial gathering sponsored by GALA Choruses. No person could attend all of the 140+ performances happening at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts and the nearby Hilton Hotel. All of us are giving it our best shot, and standing to cheer our people along the way.

While we are at it, we can cheer Miami’s new performing arts venues, opened in 2006.

Designed by Cesar Pelli, and 20 years in the making, The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is one of the world’s largest such centers. It is owned by Miami-Dade County and operated by The Performing Arts Center Trust. Two main structures occupy two city blocks along historic Biscayne Boulevard.

One building is the 2,400-seat Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House. The other is the 2,200-seat John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall. The complex also includes the 200-seat Carnival Studio Theater and the Carnival Art Deco Tower, a restored architectural icon from one of Miami’s oldest Art Deco buildings.

The total project cost $472 million, with $150 million coming from a private capital campaign. Philanthropist Adrienne Arsht contributed $30 million, and gifts of $10 million each were received from Carnival Corporation, Sanford and Dolores Ziff, and the Knight Foundation. [Click here to read some background about the exercise of these naming rights.]

Singers are filling the venues with music, and I am organizing my notes about some of their performances and am off to hear more….

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