If you’ve been following me for a while, you will know by now that I am a huge supporter of To Write Love On Her Arms. It’s such a wonderful movement and it’s so great to see attention being brought to issues like self-harm and addiction. One of the events I look forward to most is Heavy and Light. As the headline says, it truly is “An evening of songs, conversation, and hope.”
I attended the Orlando date this year (February 18th, 2013) and, once again, was in awe. The music is always amazing, and the conversation sends chills up your spine. This year, a focus was placed on the loss of co-founder David McKenna, who died on December 14, 2012 in a car-accident. Both Jamie Tworkowski and Renee Yohe spoke of the loss on stage, which left many people with tears streaming. The event then moved forward with their message of hope and pushing through the difficult events in life.
Renee Yohe (a.k.a. Bearcat) performed to a crowd of delighted listeners. With an instantly classic voice and the beautiful melodies that accompanied her, one could not help but be entranced by her stage-presence.
With performances by Anthony Raneri (Bayside), Jon Foreman and Fiction Family, Will Anderson (Parachute), and Now, Now, the evening was everything I expected and more. Anthony Raneri is truly an amazing performer; my only wish is that I could hear him cover Death Cab For Cutie’s “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” over and over again. When he later reappeared on stage to join Jon Foreman for “Only Hope,” they both commanded the attention of the entire venue.
The same could be said for Will Anderson, who had many excited girls screaming into my ears, all desperately trying to catch his eye. As every performer did, Anderson communicated with the audience, engaging them, and wowing them as he sang. Now, Now were beautifully real. Between songs, they spoke about being under the weather (though you’d never have known) and joked with one another about needing to stay hydrated. Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it right, because their set was superb.
They were energetic; their songs were different and catchy and overall, fantastic. When Jon Foreman and Fiction Family were on stage together, a whole new energy seemed to come about. There suddenly seemed to be more foot stomping, more clapping; it was an experience, to say the least, including celebrating Sean Watkins birthday on stage. I thought I’d seen just about everything until I saw Jon Foreman handing out lamps for their set at the end. “Here, take a lamp,” he said, grinning. “I’ve never done that before.” And we’ve never seen anything so wonderfully amusing!
Of course, who could forget spoken-word poet Anis Mojgani? Again, he amazed the audience, to the point that one girl even passed out! Jokes aside, Anis has a way about him that draws you into the poems he reads, making you feel every word. A Heavy and Light without him would be oddly empty.
Well done to all the artists and the entire organization of To Write Love On Her Arms for another successful Heavy and Light. If you’d like to know more about TWLOHA or Heavy and Light, please go to twloha.com