Faith · Lifestyle · Music · Travel · Video Game

Hollywood Bound :: A Night in the Dolby Theatre 

Kingdom Hearts captured my heart 15 years ago via the television screen. 

The first thing I loved about it was it’s music. Utada Hikaru’s ‘Simple & Clean’ stayed in my head for months; I couldn’t think of a song that was as beautiful and magical as hers. 

I became a fan of Kingdom Hearts even though I wasn’t really familiar with the game. Years later, when my then-boyfriend, now-husband gave me the opportunity to play the game, I was instantly captivated by the story, the characters, & EVERYTHING I hadn’t known prior to playing it. 

To me, it was simply amazing that Square Enix and Disney joined forces to create what has to be one of the most magical games of all time. 

The game made me cry, it made me smile, it aggravated me on more than one occassion… 

… and it stole my heart. 

I bonded with my husband through it. I loved how he was just as big of a fan as I was. As if our obsession wasn’t enough, we decided to name our first daughter Kairi- inspired by one of the main characters in the game. 

Of course, having our first child didn’t go as we had hoped. Our Kairi didn’t make it, and we were devastated. 

I initially thought that all I’d been left with was just the hope from God that I’d see my daughter again… 

…but that wasn’t so.

In doing a little research, I discovered that the name Kairi has two meanings- the first is ocean, sea, or ocean village. The second is Song or melody. 

I wondered which meaning she would have taken after the most, and as it turned out one day, I realized it was song/melody. Shortly after I lost her, I went to a church program one evening, and in the middle of the program, as music was being played, I felt my daughter’s spirit all wrapped up in a beautiful song. Everything about that one song I heard had her name all over it. 

I fell in love with music all over again that day. 

Ever since the loss of my daughter, I made it my mission to enjoy life, to grow, to drop every weight and any sin that could hinder my growth, to become the person God intended for me to be, to live life for her, and to love music all the more.

Which brings me back to Kingdom Hearts.

 As I was browsing through the social network one day, I saw it- Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour. 

I think I raised an eyebrow.

I’d seen so many false advertisments for Kingdom Hearts before and didn’t want to get my hopes up that an orchestra world tour was taking place. Still, I’m rather curious, so I clicked on the link to see what this ‘world tour’ was all about…

…and wow, I discovered it was legit. 

I browsed through the page to see where the next concert would be, and if there was one coming to Los Angeles. Lo and behold, it announced it was coming to Hollywood, to the Dolby Theatre!

I couldn’t believe it. I felt my insides screaming. This just looked too good to be true. How was it possible that I was just finding out about this, and that I was faced with an opportunity to go? 

I knew I was up against time. I quickly searched for any remaining tickets (I knew a lot of KH fans would not miss this, even though I wasn’t sure just how many would be there). My only option, however, was orchestra seating. After checking over and over again for other options, I knew I’d have to choose orchestra seating. 

I figured front seats were better anyway. 

There was just one problem… a BIG problem… only one ticket could be purchased…  

And…

My husband and I BOTH are huge KH fans. 

I hated that only one of us could go. 

I was excited about this event, but I also wanted my husband to experience it. Finally, after talking with him, it was decided… I’d go. I sucked up my disappointment and decided to be grateful for the opportunity to experience the event. 

The time period I spent waiting for the day to come was excruciating, but I pulled it together and chose to wait patiently. 

When the day finally arrived, I (naturally) start to think of all the things that could go wrong. I handled those fears with prayer. But I didn’t just silently pray my evening would go well… I prayed that it would be EXTRAORDINARY.

I arrived to the Dolby theatre an hour and a half before the show was set to start, praying to God to grant me the opportunity to meet people who’d be a part of the night’s program… 

As I walked into a local Starbucks, I noticed a group of people standing in front of me with binders. 

I realized they were part of the program and, unable to contain my excitement, I walked up and greeted them. 

After being interviewed by one of the ladies from the group about my love for KH and what song I was hoping to hear that evening, we parted ways. 

Once I got through security and walked past the front doors, I looked all around. I think my jaw almost dropped open. Actually… it did. 

There were so many Kingdom Hearts fans. 

Some were dressed up in cocktail dresses and suits. Others were dressed casually. And some others were dressed as their favorite characters. 

Of course, I couldn’t resist walking up to a young woman, dressed up as Kairi, to ask if  I could take a picture with her. 

Finally, after several minutes, the doors to the theatre were finally opened. It was almost time for the show to start. 

I walked in and gasped. 

I’d seen the Dolby theatre via television many times; I’d watched the award shows and wondered what it would be like to be in such a magnificent place. Never did I think I’d see the day when I’d be walking inside, sitting so close to the stage, and being able to say, “I’m at the Dolby theatre!”

The reality of the entire situation was too much for me to take in. I couldn’t believe I was there; it just seemed to good to be true, even though I knew I wasn’t dreaming. 

Funko KH Donald joined me. I know he was useless in the game, but he was still cute!

After what seemed like ages, the moment finally arrived- Kingdom Hearts Orchestra was starting… and oh, how the tears just came rolling down when the sweet, familiar music reached my ears.

I was captivated by the magic of the music. Every worry and whatever concern I had had prior to getting to the concert disappeared at the sight of the orchestra playing those beautiful Kingdom Hearts songs that had stolen my heart. 

Every song/theme matched what ever clip from the game was being played on a huge screen. 

  • Kairi and Sora’s theme, with clips of their special moments together. (This one made me cry)
  • Organization XIII’s theme, with clips of each member of the group.                               
  • And, my favorite, Disney Castle’s Theme, with clips of Donald and Goofy receiving a letter, and a mission, from King Mickey.

Every theme, every song… played perfectly (one or two minor mistakes still wasn’t enough to ruin the beauty of the concert). It was as if the game itself had come to life. 

I listened to Dearly Beloved, Simple and Clean, and Sanctuary with tears in my eyes. Whatever makeup I had tried applying perfectly was now a complete mess, but I didn’t care; I didn’t pay so much for this concert not to cry. 

The biggest surprise(s) of the night must have been when the composer of Kingdom Hearts, Yoko Shimomura, came out and played the final song of the concert on the piano, accompanied by the orchestra. As if that wasn’t enough, Tetsuya Nomura, the director of KH, shows up and surprises the audience with a sneak peak of Kingdom Hearts 3, the long awaited final piece of the game (unless they decide to continue creating additional games). 

Now, I’m an introvert, and I am usually pretty reserved… unless something really grabs my attention. And on this particular evening, I was pretty much out of my introverted shell. 

I laughed. I screamed so loud. I cried like a baby. I smiled like crazy. I jumped off my seat more than once. I was fidgeting in my seat most of the time from the excitement I felt. 

No words could describe how magical this event had been to me. 

It all ended so soon. The time it took waiting for this event to take place vs. the time I was there experiencing it seemed pretty unfair. 

Nevertheless, I didn’t regret going. Throughout the rest of the evening, I continued thanking God for this beautiful opportunity. 

The concert had been more than just a form of entertainment to me; it also inspired me, made me think of my daughter, and served as a reminder to stay focused, grateful, and faith-filled even in the midst of unlovely circumstances. 

I can’t fully describe to you how Kingdom Hearts has shaped some of my views in life; it would probably take a whole book to do that. What I can tell you is that it has taught me a lot about the power of friendship, love, and promises fulfilled. It sounds strange, but the message of the KH story helped me understand my own faith & walk with God.

As for the concert…

This incredible event will never be forgotten for as long as I live. And I intend to keep it that way. 🗝


Thank you for reading! 

What are your thoughts on Kingdom Hearts? Are you a fan of the game as well? If so, what did you love most about it? 

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