In just one night, my dreams came true. The Grey's Anatomy: Songs Beneath the Show benefit concert was held at UCLA's Royce Hall for the Actors Fund. The benefit, which was on my 21st birthday, featured Grey's Anatomy actors, songs from the show and Ingrid Michaelson.
Grey's Anatomy is a show that brings people together from all across the world. Elyima, one of the leaders for the Callie_Arizona community, planned a "Calzona Fans Take LA" meetup in Santa Monica. The event, held on the day of the benefit, was for fans of Callie Torres, portrayed by Sara Ramirez, and Arizona Robbins, portrayed by Jessica Capshaw. The 25 attendees came from 15 different states and one fan came from Milan, Italy. There were two special attendees, the twins who play Sofia, the daughter of characters Callie, Arizona and Mark.
Men and women of all ages attended the benefit concert. When my friends and I were in line to buy our tickets, there were other UCLA students in front of us and an adorable elderly couple behind us. In the balcony section, several UCLA students bonded over the show and had their textbooks on their lap to have a last minute textbook cram before the show.
The benefit concert was a cathartic experience. The room was filled with an immense amount of positive and electrifying energy. The happiness from the cast to the audience members was absolutely infectious.
Grey's has impacted my life and the lives of many other fans across the world. Based on the shrills, tears and euphoric joy of all the audience members in Royce, we all collectively felt the impact of Grey's and how the show brought us all together, under one roof, for the benefit concert.
"I love the show all by itself, but the experience is so much richer because of my fellow fans," Elyima said. "We laugh and cry with them through their struggles each week and then we talk about how we interpret those journeys in our lives."
Over the years, I cried with Meredith's dark days, screamed at the shooter episode, and laughed at the comedic moments. Grey's was the show that I grew up with from high school to college.
When Ramirez came onstage, my heart stopped. She has been a monumental inspiration in my life and I had always dreamed that one day, I would be able to hear her sing in person. I never imagined that I would be lucky enough to hear her sing, in person, on my 21st birthday. Everyone has that one musical artist that impacts them emotionally and spiritually. For me, Ramirez is that person. Her songs from Monty Python's Spamalot Musical to her personal EP are at the top of my iTunes list. Her music keeps me grounded and her comedic parts on Grey's makes me laugh.
During that benefit, I temporarily forgot that I had final exams the next day. For two blissful hours, I clapped, I cheered and I shed a tiny tear during Ramirez's cover of Brandi Carlile's "The Story." That night, hundreds of fans came together where they celebrated Grey's and raised $100,000 for the Actors Fund.
The beauty of television is that television brings strangers together. At college, the easiest way to make a new friend is to bond over a favorite television show. From watching Grey's, my friend became interested in medicine and applied to Medical School. I was inspired by Shonda Rhimes, creator of Grey's and Private Practice, and I took a UCLA screenwriting class to see if I have the chops to be a television writer.
A week since the benefit, I am still astounded by that night. I cannot believe that the impossible became the possible. That night was the best 21st birthday I could have ever dreamed of.
Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that Elyima was the only leader of the Callie_Arizona community. There are several leaders in the Callie_Arizona community.