The Oh Hellos at Thalia Hall

It’s not every day that you get to meet your favorite band, help them decorate their venue with Christmas snowflakes, listen to them as they do sound check, help with a coat drive, and go backstage for a song or two. So since this never happens, I had to document it on this here blog.

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I have been a fan of The Oh Hellos for years. Their song Hello My Old Heart popped up on my Rdio account at work one day and I was hooked. I haven’t been able to see them live – I somehow missed them every time they would play near Chicagoland. But then as luck would have it they were playing a Christmas Extravaganza show at Thalia Hall on December 10. I quickly purchased the tickets for my roommate and I as early Christmas presents, and then something even more wonderful happen, they asked on their Facebook page if anyone would like to help them on a project. Yes, said I! And so that’s how I found myself sticking up snowflakes listening to my favorite band during their sound check.

Some Joyful Moments

Meeting the Band

Processed with VSCO with m5 presetThe band was incredibly generous. They were all so kind and welcoming. From the concerts and interviews I’ve seen of them they seemed to be like that, but sometimes you never know; yet, this band was made up of genuinely kind and humble people. We were able to take a photo with Maggie and Tyler, but we also had the pleasure of talking with some of the other band members too.

They gave us a signed poster and anything from the merch table, which was seriously the sweetest gift. They were genuinely thankful that we helped, but I don’t think they realize that just being there was a gift (yup cheese sauce all over that applesauce!).


I have a servant’s heart and I sincerely love to help people. I love to bring a smile to someone’s face. I thank God that He gave me a smile that is contagious (I think all smiles are!), and so when I received the email from the band to help with a coat drive I was elated.

I loved grabbing the coats from people and entering them into a drawing. I made a big deal each time a person would bring over their coat. They were doing something kind and selfless and I wanted to celebrate them. The look of gratitude and joy on their faces were impossible not to celebrate, I mean really!

I absolutely loved sitting at the merch table and watching everyone’s faces as they entered the venue. Some people were confused as to why this random girl with a santa hat (me) was smiling at them, but then their frowns would quickly melt into a cheerful smile and all was well. I especially loved watching the faces of the people waiting to check their coats in when the band began to play – it was impossible for them not to have a look of glee on their face.

I ended up helping with the merch table and it was a blast handing people items that they actually wanted and were excited to have. I know that sounds rather simple but that’s unique as my day job doesn’t usually offer such quick satisfaction from the people I serve. Also, I am a fan too, so when someone was excited to buy an album I was excited for them and also for the band – make that paper, yo.

Being There

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I have waited years to see this band live and it was sheer joy. I loved their set – a mix of their original music along with Christmas songs. It was a joy to shout “come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord” as loud as possible in a setting that wasn’t a church. I loved sharing this intimate moment (you know, with 700+ of my most intimate acquaintances) with other fans as we swayed back and forth, danced, and even had fake snow (soap) fall on us. They are even better live and better than I imagined.

A Different Perspective

Face of happy: we just finished putting up snowflakes and were sitting listening to the band.

We got there around 4pm and left around 11pm, so we were able to get a perspective that a fan normally doesn’t see. From being there during sound check, from the bars setting up, the security coming in and preparing, the coat check people working, the merch table setting up, the quiet before the storm of fans who just seem to appear, to the actual show, and then afterwards to the tearing down and counting of inventory and cleaning up and packing up… It reminded me of my days in high school when I would help with local bands, but now as someone who is older, I see it differently. When I was younger it was something we loved but we didn’t depend on it. Now I am older I realize it’s a job, an ecosystem – not only is the band making income, but so is this venue, the security guards, the bartenders, the coat checkers, etc.

So friends who love music, see the bands you love live, buy their merch, buy a drink, and maybe check your coat (if applicable).

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Obviously, this post was not a play-by-play of the day. I just wanted to pick out moments. It’s mainly for future Tawny to look back on and think, “Wow God, you have blessed me in innumerable ways.”

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