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The Severance Hall Story

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I was sitting in my fourth grade classroom at Ridgebury Elementary School one day when they introduced the class to a new student. His name was Tom Consolo and he looked a little nervous, coming in just after Christmas, in the middle of the school year. We were seated alphabetically, so Tom ended up right behind me (Carmen, Consolo). I turned around and said "Hi" and welcomed him to our school and before long, Tom and I became good friends. He had just moved up to Lyndhurst from Little Italy (or" the Hill" as it's sometimes called) and he has since told me he had no idea what to expect. Murray Hill was a pretty tough neighborhood back then, and Tom came to school figuring he would get beaten up every day just because he was the "new" kid. Fortunately, nobody had any interest in beating Tom up, and he settled into life at Ridgebury Elementary in no time at all. Sometimes, after school, Tom would come over and we would play with toy cars in my driveway. Tom remembers me playing classical piano, and my mother painting a mural on our dining room wall., things that seemed quite different from life on "the hill."

Well, Tom and I went all through Junior High and High School togetther, although we eventually drifted into different groups. Tom became very handsome and popular and played on a few sports teams. I remained skinny, artistic and terminally shy. Eventually Tom became the lead singer of Brush High's Motown band, The Cellmates, while I became the lead singer of Brush's "Mod" band, The Fugitives.

After high school, I went of to college and joined Cyrus Erie and Tom headed for the West Coast. Tom became the tour manager for REO Speedwagon and worked with Survivor and a number of other acts, and from time to time we would run into each other. Tom always managed to make it to the show, whenever I played L.A.

Fast forward to last summer. Tom and I had had a couple of phone conversations about a number of things, and one day he said "I'm coming to Cleveland next month with Jewel. She's doing an interesting show with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra and I think you should see it." So, Susie and I headed out to the venue on a lovely summer evening to check it out.

It was SPECTACULAR! I never realized what a terrific singer Jewel is, and the Orchestra was absolutely wonderful. Great conductor, great charts. All in all, a lovely, intimate evening of beautiful music.

A few days later Tom called and said "You know we could do this with you at Severance Hall. I think that would be a great "full circle" kind of event." He was remembering back when I used to sit in the balcony and watch my Aunt Muriel rehearse. It did sound pretty appealing. The same hall where my lifelong love of classical music was formed, the same stage where I had watched the great George Szell conduct Beethoven and Mozart. It all just felt right. And the last piece of the puzzle, Tom now works at Irving Azoff Management in L.A. They know how to do these things right.

So, there you have it, fifty-two years in the making! How the stars and planets might just line up for a couple of boyhood friends from Lyndhurst, and make October 6th one very memorable night. Pretty good story, don'tcha think? ec

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Thanks for your wonderful story! Its so nice that you are able to make a really meaningful connection after all the time that has passed. Not many of us are so fortunate to keep those relationships in our modern "mobile" society. Good luck to both of you with your wonderful plans!


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It's stories like THIS one from Eric, why ericcarmen.com is the best 'band/artist fan-site' on the web. Not to mention an iPod giveaway for 1,000,000 hits!

ANY fan-site is lucky to have the namesake artist contribute ANYTHING. Usually they are too busy. And when they do quickly appear, it's part of a shameless promotion hawking a new product.

THIS (having Eric tell personal stories, and giving occasional personal replies to us the fans, etc.) is unique to anything I have ever seen. On the Hollies official site, we're lucky to have Bobby Elliott pipe in once a month, and it's sometimes a snippy response to a criticism from a fan.

These 'Reflections With Eric' segments are addicting and inspirational. It gives us all a good look into following the heart to find happiness. And, that certain people are MEANT to be put in front of us for our entire liftimes...and we just don't realize it in the present moment. Just ask Mike Douglas ;^)

I'm hooked to this site! And hopefully the funds will be there for a trip to Cleveland in October.

Congrats to Spooky Tooth and to the team that makes this site as happenin' as it is!

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What a fantastic story, Eric. This was "written in the stars" long before Tommy moved from Murray Hill to Lyndhurst, that's why "the planets lined up" so perfectly for it. They were undoubtedly lined up for it long before either of you was born. There is no such thing as serendipity, in my view. Some things are just "meant to be." This story must be as old as time, because I've been wishing for it since I first heard you play the piano. Thank you for making yet another of my dreams come true. I'll be honored to attend this magnificent event.

smile --Darlene

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Wow...Eric Carmen with orchestra!...I can't wait to hear the results of that union...I usually prefer to listen to the studio versions of my favorite artists songs...But EC with orchestra...That's gonna bring out even more drama in some already dramatic music.

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Paul Davie,

I think we all feel what you conveyed so beautifully in your post. Bravo and Ditto.

Irving Azoff used to run Giant Records, and is a HUGE Brian Wilson fan. This has me thinking this could be the start of something really good.

When Brian Wilson did his "Pet Sounds Live" tour, he used local orchestras in the different cities he played. But some of the shows had no orchestra at all. So if Eric does take this thing on the road, he would have that option as well. In smaller venues, an intimate show with just a good band would be extremely cool. I guess I'm rooting for this not to be a one shot deal, because I think people will come out to see Eric play in many cities across the US.

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Lord Almighty...if Eric does do the 'mini-tour', I would be happy to arrange the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra (with co-promoters Bob & Tommy Allen! LOL)

The grand old Landmark Theater would be perfect. That's the same venue where Eric played with Ringo in 2001...and I caught Ringo's towel!!

And thank you Brian Mac for the kind words...

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