Category Archives: Jordin Sparks

Concert 42 – Cleveland, Ohio The Alchemist

Concert 42
Cleveland Ohio
August 27, 2009

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I am in “rock star” love with Mike Bedard, the drummer and music director in Jordin Sparks Band. Mike is 34 and has been touring with bands since he was 14 years old.

More on Mike and our spontaneous conversation in a minute.

We drove from Columbus to Cleveland last night. I wanted to sleep in a bed, take a shower, and be close to the venue. I was so tired that I pulled over to sleep for 15 minutes. Somehow after 5 minutes I was wide awake and ready to drive. The coffee I bought at McDonald’s was still too hot to drink. Eventually, drank the coffee, drove to Cleveland, and found the hotel easily. Arrived at the hotel around 3am.

The day was a cloudy, rainy day. The weather had changed and it felt like fall was coming. It was the kind of weather that lets you know the summer is over. Gather your acorns. Get out the winter clothes. Chop the wood for the fire. Simmer a hearty soup on the stove.

It felt like things were coming to a close today. This was the last concert in the United States. Jordin Sparks has started to tour with Britney Spears and tonight was her last concert. (Found out later that she will be in Toronto and Ottawa)

I was sitting in the mall next to the Ritz Carlton. Groups of teens were trying to find ways to spot the Jonas Brothers. I had already passed Kevin Jonas on the street with his bodyguard and the little dog that he and Danielle have together. I was driving around the corner to enter the parking garage. Very little traffic on the road. I stopped and rolled down my window to tell him that tonight was the 42nd concert for us this summer. He said, “Thank you.” Another one of my ungraceful stalking, star struck moments.

Now at the mall, I sat at a table finishing a blog about California. Looking for the words to describe other concerts, too. Looking around me at the words that pop out from signs in the store windows. One of my favorite things to do. Look at the words, songs, and people who cross my path.

I checked some Facebook messages and this one popped out at me: It was from Raphael Araujo, from Toronto: Life is not about what you can do. It’s really about what you can BECOME. Spread your wings and FLY!

In the mall, the words that pop out at me are: Love All, Serve All. Celebrate. The quote from Raphael and the words from the wall bring me into a deeper place of reflection.

I sit here asking myself questions. Some days I ask myself questions like: why am I sitting at the mall? Or why am I going to 45 concerts? Or the biggest why, Why am I alive and what have I come to do, to be, to experience?

Today that is the question: Why am I alive and what have I come to do, to be, to experience? I roll around the words: Love All, Serve All.

Walking by my table, as I write are Garbo, Caroline, Ryan, Christa, all members of the JB band. I say something to Caroline and then see that she is on the phone. She smiles and waves. I say, “Hi” to Garbo and Ryan. They smile and nod. They pause, as if I look familiar but the quizzical looks on their faces tell me they are not quite sure who I am.

Christa Black is the amazing string player who is writing a blog this summer about her life and her thoughts She walks by my table on the level below. Sunglasses, hair pulled back, earphones connected to an IPod.

10 minutes later she passed my table and I decided that it was now or never. This may be the last time I am close enough to thank her for the summer. I want to thank her for her music that stirs my soul, for the impact she is having on my daughter, Hannah. She listens, nods, lets me know she understands, thanks me and then continues to walk around the mall to wake up. Just enough time for me to really feel a moment in time connection with her.

After talking with Christa, I thought for a minute about why I need to say anything to her or anyone in the band. Why should they care? I don’t want to bother them. I don’t want to interrupt a moment of silence or privacy. And then I think of you, the readers, the travelers along our road and all of the Jonas Brothers fans. It warms my heart when we talk. I am so disappointed when I read that you didn’t want to bother me. The interactions with each of you has been special and precious. Yes, take the time to share the journey with the members of the band and with Hannah and me and with anyone else who moves you.

At the arena in Cleveland, I walked quietly along the path. I took pictures of the last venue that will have all of the sponsors I have traveled with for over two months. Summer camp is really over here for the sponsors and all of the people who have traveled and worked since June. Some will take a break and then continue with a different band, some will go back to college and others will look for another job. The memories of dancing, playing, connecting and evolving this summer linger in my mind.

About 25 feet from me, I saw Mike Bedard, the drummer for Jordin Sparks. I thought that this was his last concert on the tour. I did not want to waste the opportunity to tell him how much I enjoyed his performance this summer. I was expecting this to be quick. I didn’t want to take up his time. I was sure that he had some reason to go inside and get ready for the show. It was 4pm.

I told him that the journey began as a way of connecting to my daughter after my husband died. He stopped, said he was sorry and then hugged me. I big ole bear hug. Wow. I haven’t had anyone react that way ever. He wants to hear more of my story. At one point, he asked if I had read the book, The Alchemist. I said, Yes. Actually I read it last summer and really connected with the book after going to 15 Jonas Brothers concerts. I felt I had been on a healing journey.

Here I was talking to Mike Bedard and we were relating to the moments we all have of coming to the edge of the cliff and taking a step. Not sure why we are called to the journey and yet, knowing that there is something for us here. We talked for about an hour. The production manager, Mike Schaeffer (?), not sure if that is his last name, was also there, nodding and understanding.

It was so unexpected to have this moment of deeper reflection about the journey of concerts this summer. He was amazing and interested and supportive and a deep thinker. It was so cool!

It was time for them to go and Mike S said something about, did I have tickets? I said no, not yet. He looked shocked, said, hold on, made a phone call and turned to me. Got my phone number and said he would call in 30 minutes. An hour later, Mike, the drummer came outside with two comp tickets. (Just as aside, comp tickets are usually gone by this time of day. I know for a fact that in LA, one of the band members could not even get tickets for his MOM! This was a miracle!

The show was phenomenal. It was one of the highlights of the trip. I am in “rock star” love with Mike Bedard. The tickets were a bonus after an incredible conversation.

Here is a brief description of a part of, “The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo,” as summarized in Wikipedia.

“Central to the novel is the concept of a Personal Legend. Santiago first learns of one’s Personal Legend from The King of Salem, who tells him “It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.”[10] He expounds on this, saying “…there is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.”[10] The King also tells Santiago of the importance of following the omens on the journey to realizing one’s personal legend. Coelho follows this advice himself; he will only start writing a book after finding a white feather.[11]

(Now a day later, as I entered the hotel room outside of Montreal, there was a feather on the door threshold! Yes, even going to 45 Jonas Brothers has feel of a personal, alchemical journey.)

Concert 31- Los Angeles, California August 9, 2009

April. the Mom from Chicago. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I will be in touch in the next few weeks


Concert 31- Los Angeles, California
August 9, 2009

The Jonas Brothers are a back drop for my life. By creating music and concerts they have opened a place for me to experience life. I may go to hundreds of Jonas Brothers concerts in my life and I may never get closer to them than third row in the middle section of the stage. In that seat, I locked eyes with each of them and I sent them joy, love and gratitude. I am complete.

This was never about meeting them. It was about the music and the community and the heart centeredness. It has been a journey of healing, connecting and expanding.

What is most important to me today is the experience I am having with you. Something really amazing happened yesterday. It was a powerful example of what I am talking about here.

First part of story:

It all started with losing my phone on August 8 during the Verizon wireless in-store event for Honor Society and The Wonder Girls. I had so many bags and stuff, it probably flipped out of the bag. Verizon may have even thought it was one of the donations of old cell phones they were collecting on that day.

Second part of the story:

On August 8 in the evening-11pm , there was A Full Moon Crazy concert with Honor Society at Club Nokia. Honor Society put on an amazing show. The Jonas Brothers stopped by to sing, “Close the Book,” with HS and Jordin Sparks popped in, too. It was like hanging out with them in an intimate, high energy environment. If you have a chance to see Honor Society on the tour, you can find the information on

Before the show started, I asked two young women about the logistics of the stage. They didn’t know, but we started a conversation about where we were from and concerts we had attended and more. At one point, there was a connection when we talked about the concerts in Chicago and I told them my daughter and I were going to 45 concerts. They stopped in mid-sentence, got excited, knew the story and called their mom, April over and the other sister. Three sisters who were going to a few concerts this summer with their Mom.

(They sang at a soundcheck and when I find the link I will post in. More details will be added in Sept.)

We had such a great conversation about our daughters and the connecting we can do with them by going to the concerts and sharing this experience. I found another soul sister, in the mom, April, who understood.

They had two tickets to sell for the next day. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but we have reached a point where we are looking for cheap tickets every day. We are not trying to take advantage of anyone. It is just part of our journey right now. April gave me her phone number and we said we would call about the tickets the next morning after looking at our budget.

Third part of the story:

The next morning, Hannah and I looked at the money we had, calculated the gas, food, and tickets for the next two concerts and realized we had $100 total to spend on tickets for the LA show. I called April on Hannah’s phone, let her know our budget and thanked her for the ticket offer, but we didn’t have enough money. April decided that she didn’t have time to sell them to anyone else and would sell them to us for the $100. We agreed to meet at the venue that evening. She had Hannah’s cell phone. Mine was still lost.

Fourth part of the story:

A friend of Hannah’s, Jade, sent her a tweet. She had an extra ticket to the Teen Choice Awards. Jonas Brothers were hosting. Honor Society was presenting an award. And Jordin Sparks and everyone else was there in the audience. It was a crazy night with the Teen Choice Awards and a concert going on, too.

I dropped Hannah off at Universal for the Teen Choice Awards. It is 20 minutes from the Staples Center. She was texting Jade and Rosie and was waiting for them outside of the Awards Show.

In the meantime, I backtracked to see if I could find my phone. Church parking lot, asked the attendant. Coffee shop. Verizon Wireless store. No, no, no. Verizon staff convinced me to turn off my phone so no one can use. it. They turned off the wrong phone. Hannah was at the teen choice awards and her phone service was cut off before connecting with friends. (It took a week for us to find out that Hannah’s phone was cut of instead of mine, not in addition to mine!)

Finally, the point of the story and the lasered details for the ending:

I didn’t have a phone. Hannah’s phone was cut off. But, she had April’s cell phone number because of the ticket conversation. Hannah borrowed someone’s phone. Called April in tears. April reached out to her with nurturing and a solution (offered to pay for a cab and meet her.) Hannah met up with friends 10 minutes later, called April back. All is well.

I heard the a part of the story from April but did not know the whole story until Hannah arrived at the Staples Center a few hours later. April gave us the tickets. I gave her a copy of my book. She gave me a CD of music (more on this in the fall when I highlight some musicians and bands we met this summer.)

I have been a mother for 25 years. When one of my children are hurt or in danger, I get a strong feeling of fear. I did not feel that with Hannah on that day. I felt that April had been placed in our lives as a protector, a safety net, a person who could support Hannah in the moment.

While I waited for Hannah to arrive at the Staples Center my heart was not fully into the music or the dancing or even in the meet and greet I went to for Jordin Sparks. They were all things that occupied my time. I kept breathing and dancing and trusting that she would be okay. And she arrived in time for Jonas. We connected and I hugged the stuffing out of her!!!

Sometimes as a single parent, I have felt that I am all alone. I have felt that there is no one else who can love Hannah enough to support her, nurture her or guide her. In this moment with April, a Mom from Chicago, I am glad that I was wrong. We are all supported Divinely with the perfect person in the perfect timing for everything.

It was also a lesson for me that I am not alone and I can depend on other people to help mentor and nurture my daughter.

Concert 24-Kansas City, Missouri Another Anniversary

Concert 24-Kansas City, Missouri
July 29, 2009

Another anniversary: Two years ago today Hannah and I went to our first Jonas Brothers concert. We stayed at a hotel outside of Philadelphia the night before. It was only two hours from our home but I needed sleep. The idea of getting up at 4 am to drive 2 hours, to sit in line in the sun, waiting to go to a concert was not my idea of fun. I wanted a good night’s sleep.

I have to laugh now when I think about how many times I have driven through the night or slept for 4 hours or less before driving 22 hours to the next town for a concert. It is amazing how your perspective can change about something.

We were up at 6am, sat in line, saw the concert and started an adventure I could never have imagined. But, that is how life is, isn’t it? When we open to inspiration and allow the unfolding of events, it is always greater, more powerful and brilliant and amazing. I have a saying that when I get out of the way, God steps in and the real adventure begins.

I have been thinking about some of the pivotal moments in my life. When I worked at the University of Maryland, many years ago, I was a research assistant on an epidemiological study involving elderly women and hip fractures.

I had a curiosity about a thing called a “computer.” It was 1984. Most people were not using computers. My boss encouraged me to take some classes. I learned that I was not good at programming, but I was very good at understanding the potential and communicating with the computer programmers. That led to my getting a job as a Project Director at Johns Hopkins University on an amateur boxing study and then my next job was working as a computer software trainer at a pharmaceutical company. It was good money and I loved the work and the freedom I had at the company. It happened because I was curious, interested, willing to work hard, learn and make mistakes. I took one step at a time that led me to discover something I was really good at. I was laid off from that job and a few years later began to home school my children. Each step led me to more joy, passion and expression of myself and my inner gifts.

I think about how the willingness to take my daughter to one concert two years ago led us to an adventure of travel, writing, growing together, healing our hearts, and meeting you. My heart overflows with gratitude. And the journey is still opening to more and more. I appreciate you the reader who is sharing in this journey. I appreciate you more than you will ever know.


In Kansas City, we attended the concert with the wife of one of my best friend’s ex-husband. Isn’t that confusing? My friend, Karen, is divorced from her husband, Kevin and he, now using his first name, Vince, is remarried to Meghan. Karen and Kevin’s (Vince’s) kids are in Kansas City for six weeks. So, we have driven half way across the country to go to a Jonas Brothers concert with Sophie, age 9.

I love describing these connections here. I have a friend, Susan, who can tell amazing stories about her family. She makes connections in her stories like the friend’s cousin’s wife’s sister’s dog. How can she remember that? It is so much fun to hear her stories.

Anyway, Meghan, the step mom, bought four tickets on Stub Hub for Hannah and Sophie and me and for herself. As the day approached, one of Meghan’s friend’s daughters (here I go again) was in town. I gave up my ticket and bought a single ticket at the box office. I found a great group of girls to dance with in another part of the venue.

Meghan drove to the venue and found the best parking spot of the summer! Yeah, Meghan!

I saw Sean from the vendor company, Mike and Ike’s, and yelled out to him. He doesn’t really know me so he was totally confused and I pulled a “you know we are watching your every move,” type of conversation. He got all wide-eyed and friendly but nervous. Then I introduced myself, to give the guy a break, and asked where James was today.

I found James, also from Mike and Ike’s and thanked him for the Jordin Sparks meet and greet passes from the night before. We talked about how nice and talented she is and how gracious with all of the fans. Then, he gave me an autographed picture of Jordin. He had an extra one from another event. I was so surprised! Here I was coming to thank him and the gifts just keep coming!!

We were able to get meet and greet passes for Honor Society again. Yeah! It happens sometimes when the band is in a town that doesn’t know them well. Kat was able to squeeze us in for a picutre moment. We saw them two nights in a row and I wished them well on their travels.

I was a little confused about where they were going next. Was it to the Bahamas and Mexico or just the Bahamas. No Mexico shows for them this time! Gio, the security guard and much more, said hello and gave me a high five.

I settled into my seat with a bag of Kettle Corn and a bottle of water and ready to dance! I was in the front row looking over the edge. Luckily there was a plexi-glass wall next to me and I held onto that until I got the rhythm of jumping in one place and reducing the risk of falling over the edge. Not sure if the people in the box seats next to me appreciated my hand placement, but I think it was better than watching me fall over the edge and plummet to my death in front of several small children.

Hannah and I were in different parts of the venue tonight. She had floor seats and I was in the balcony. I was in the first row in the farthest seat. As I was leaving the venue, I moved past 15 seats, climbed 21 rows, came halfway around the venue to a long escalator, waited in line for the escalator and then headed towards the outside door. A hand touched my shoulder and I looked around to see Hannah. Meghan and Sophie and Maddie went back to the car a few songs earlier. Out of all the different routes out of the building, how did we end up at the same place at the same time?

It was the perfect ending to a perfect day, as we walked to the car chatting back and forth about the adventures of the evening. All is well.