DERRY — It’s not every day one gets to see and hear the likes of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Beyonce all performing on the same stage.
But for one local woman, a musical dream came true in the form of a contest win that sent her to the Grammy Awards Jan. 26 in Los Angeles.
Erin Columbare won tickets to see the 56th annual music awards show through radio station Mix 104.1.
Columbare, a self-professed awards show “junkie,” entered the contest not thinking anything would happen.
She also jokingly asked her husband Mike if he could get time off from work just in case they needed to fly to California.
Columbare, an assistant to the vice president of administration at Northern Essex Community College, found out she won while driving down Interstate 495. The Mix and its DJs called to give her the good news.
That began a 45-hour whirlwind trip to the West Coast, with the radio station picking up the tab for airfare, hotel and Grammy tickets.
Prior to that, the couple, married in October, had to secure proper attire for the occasion. Men’s Warehouse arranged for a last-minute tuxedo fitting and one of Columbare’s relatives helped secure a red carpet-worthy gown for the big night.
The proper Grammy look also included a professional makeup and hair appointment.
“It was fun to feel like a princess,” Columbare said.
Once arriving in California, the couple did a little sightseeing and then got a good night’s sleep before the next day’s music festivities.
While they didn’t get to walk the red carpet like the star Grammy attendees, Columbare said they did sit in the balcony section of the Staples Center amid some “American Idol” contestants.
The show started and it was a night of a lifetime, Columbare said.
All the performances were fantastic, she said. One of her favorite moments was hearing Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr sing “Happy Birthday” to one of the show’s producers.
“It was such fun,” she said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip. We took everything in and enjoyed every minute. We knew it would never happen again.”