Those that follow this blog know that I am perpetually trying to find new and interesting ways to bring opera to a new audience…to break down barriers, and to invite new people to the club. I have a way that you can help me do that, AND help two extraordinary people win a contest in the process. By taking five minutes to flex your social media muscles, you can help my friend, and get some great press for two wonderful ambassadors of opera.
Everyone has a story, but there is none more amazing, devastating, encouraging, hopeful, touching and worth sharing, than the story of my dear friend, Jason Hardy.
I met Jason in 1998 when we began our graduate work together at the Peabody Conservatory, we were immediately “thick as thieves.” Jason spent much of his time pining away for his then girlfriend, Bevelyn…who also had quite a story. Bevelyn had lost her husband to brain cancer, just a few days before their son was born. She met Jason when her boy, Luke, was an infant. They became fast friends, and finally, husband and wife (I still beat myself up that I was unable to make their wedding.)
Jason’s career was on the fast track, when they found out that Bevelyn had breast cancer. They, of course, were shocked and terrified. A few days later, they received even more news that they’d have to digest, Bevelyn was pregnant! They found doctors that were willing to treat her cancer “around” the pregnancy…and soon, their miracle baby, Sabrina was born. Bevelyn continued her treatment, and was ultimately given a clean bill of health.
I will never forget where I was when I received the call from Jason that Bevelyn’s cancer had returned. She fought with dignity and grace that defy description, and we just knew that she was going to beat this. Treatment after treatment, set-back after set-back, Bevelyn remained an inspiration to everyone who knew her. In 2007, Jason (and the rest of us) lost Bevelyn.
As devastating as this was, it was also an incredible experience to see how those in our lives just circled around Jason, and how Jason (without any time to grieve) kicked it into high gear to become the model single parent. Jason soldiered on, being the same example of dignity, grace and love that Bevelyn was to us all.
Fast forward a couple of years…because this story has a happy ending, and you can help make it even happier. Like his wife Bevelyn, Jason too was able to find love after devastating loss. In 2007, he met a wonderful woman named Carrie. When he brought Carrie over to our home for the first time, he was filled with the same excitement that a teenager has, bringing his girlfriend home to meet the parents for the first time. Needless to say, she passed our test (as if it mattered!) with flying colors! Many people search their whole life to find a soul-mate…Jason found two, and those that know him are eternally grateful that he has found Carrie.
Jason proposed to Carrie after opening night of a production of Le Nozze di Figaro…and she said YES. Some charming video of the proposal can be found here:
So, what does this have to do with you? Jason and Carrie have been entered into a contest through Crate & Barrel to get their dream wedding. I can think of no more deserving people. Those of you with Twitter accounts, Facebook, Youtube channels…can you help me do something really important? Can you help me get them 2000 votes this weekend? Post their story, forward to friends, and VOTE. It will take five minutes…and it’ll make you feel good. If nothing else, we can see what kind of pull we have on the inter-webs. You can also sign up to follow progress on Twitter @JasonHardyATL or #FigaroWedding
Please click below to vote for Jason and Carrie:
AN UPDATED VIDEO APPEAL FROM THE HAPPY COUPLE!!!!