My 7 Favorite Moments From HEAVY AND LIGHT

Photo: (Flickr)

Earlier this year, I made a promise to do more to support my favorite causes. When To Write Love On Her Arms announced its highly anticipated HEAVY AND LIGHT tour, I knew I couldn’t let something as silly as a few hundred miles keep me from being at the House of Blues in Houston.

Last night I watched as several musicians, a slam poet and the non-profit’s founder, Jamie Tworkowski, took to the stage to bring those of us lucky enough to be at the venue a night of “songs, conversation and hope.” Because I know it’s not possible for everyone to make it to one of the 17 cities on the tour, I wanted to share my favorite moments of the night with you.

+ Fears vs. Dreams

Photo: (Claire Biggs)

TWLOHA isn’t afraid to ask the tough questions. With the Fears vs. Dreams campaign, the non-profit asked: “What’s Your Biggest Fear? What’s Your Greatest Dream?” As the doors opened and people began pouring in, a former TWLOHA intern, Carra, was waiting patiently by a step-and-repeat with her camera and a whiteboard. Audience members were invited to write their biggest fear and greatest dream on the board and have their photos taken, which are then posted online. It was incredible to see people step forward and bravely display the whiteboard holding their secrets.

+ The Intro

Photo: (Claire Biggs)

Before a single note was played, a screen over the stage flashed a message welcoming all of us to HEAVY AND LIGHT: “The show begins with words because we believe words are powerful.” This brief display was poignant and set the tone of the night from the get-go. We were here to rock, to bear witness to the words of those onstage and around us and to carry out the words after the show ended.

+ Anis Mojgani Slams Some Poems, Mentions MTV

Photo: (Claire Biggs)

If you don’t know what a slam poet is, you might want to look up Anis Mojgani. Mojgani has been with HEAVY AND LIGHT since the early Orlando shows, and he is going to be at each stop along this cross-country tour. He performed four poems during which the audience hesitated to do anything more than breathe — that’s how special the moments were. He even thanked MTV for introducing him to Tina Turner, to whom he dedicated tonight’s “Shake the Dust.”

+ The Heavy: Personal Messages

Photo: (Claire Biggs)

In between songs, each artist shared insights about their performances. Two stand-out moments for me were when Aaron Gillespie told the audience, “You have a purpose; you have a future. I am stoked to be playing music with you tonight,” and when Mojgani detailed his struggle with depression: “We’ve all been alone, and we’ve all been vulnerable. I felt as if I was living in a cave for two years. It was very simple to feel alone in all of that…but it does get better.”

+ The Light: Fun Moments

Photo: (Claire Biggs)

One of the lightest moments of the night came courtesy of Bryce Avary (of The Rocket Summer) when he announced, “This is a song about heartbreak” and proceeded to perform a few surprise verses from Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together.” Avary, who also showed off some impressive beatboxing skills, had the crowd in stitches with his playful performance.

+ A Tearful Sing-Along

Photo: (Claire Biggs)

Jon Foreman (SwitchfootFiction Family) has been a part of the TWLOHA story from the very beginning; he even wore the first TWLOHA t-shirt at a concert almost seven years ago! When Foreman took the stage, he flipped the microphone in our direction, strummed on the guitar and played while the audience sang an acoustic, heartfelt version of “Dare You To Move.” I shed more than a few tears, and I know I wasn’t the only one.

+ Quiet moments

Photo: (Claire Biggs)

Other moments were fleeting and a treat to see. Before the show began, Jamie Tworkowski slipped unnoticed into the crowd to watch quietly as the lights went up at the Houston show. Although the show featured an eclectic mix of performers, there was nothing more heartwarming than seeing them shake hands and exchange hugs when one of them stepped offstage. It was clear the community bond wasn’t just felt on the floor last night: it was backstage as well.

If you can make it, the HEAVY AND LIGHT tour will be up and running for two more weeks. Check the action widget below to see the dates and how you can buy your ticket. The other performers, including Now, Now and Noah and Abby Gundersen, are just as exceptional as Gillespie, Avary and Foreman.

And remember, even if you can’t make the show: you are not alone. As Gillespie eloquently stated, “You have a purpose; you have a future.”

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