A Dream Come True; Ben Rector and Cody Fry with the Colorado Symphony

Written by: Melaina Hesterlee


A beautiful auditorium sits in the center, and a big stage for one of the best orchestras in the Midwest sits there. All of the instrumentalists were warming up, and then everything went silent. The crowd goes wild, cheering and clapping. Ben Rector and Cody Fry walk onto the stage with Wilber Lin, the conductor. Taking their places, Cody on the grand piano and Ben on the guitar, the music begins.


I have enjoyed music by Cody Fry since 2020 and Ben Rector since 2023 respectively. One of my best friends, Piper, introduced me to Cody Fry, who has been a fan. The song that captured my heart was “Sailboat,” a duet with Fry and Rector (which was an original piece by Rector). This song made an impact on me and my heart. It talks about life, sometimes we are stuck and aren’t moving. There is no better way to describe that feeling than a sailboat. In the past 4 years since I started listening to this song, there have been many times I have felt like a sailboat.


I enjoy listening to both artists; they have unique music, and that’s what I love about them. The difference between my favorite artists and artists like Taylor Swift or Harry Styles is that they don’t tour. I would be searching for shows in Kansas City, but they never visit Kansas. Until October 2023, I found that Cody Fry and Ben Rector were performing in Denver, Colorado, on my birthday on Feb. 2, 2024. I invited Piper to go with me so we could experience this together. My mom got us tickets to the show, and I was ecstatic!


Feb. 2 rolled around, and we were in Denver preparing for the concert. We walked to the Boettcher Concert Hall in the Denver Performing Arts Center. When we were inside the venue, the excitement was setting in. When we took our seats, the adults around us were not matching our energy. The people to our right enjoyed listening to Ben Rector and would be singing along to the songs. Meanwhile, the people to our left were very serious and acted like regulars to the symphony, probably not Cody Fry and Ben Rector fans. 


When the concert started, everyone was getting antsy and couldn’t sit still, maybe that was just Piper and me. The excitement that the 2 performers showed fed the audience. Though we couldn’t see them very well, we could tell in their movements that they were so happy to be there and perform for us. Being old friends, Rector and Fry express so much chemistry, and their voices beautifully mesh together.


Cody Fry blew us away. He sang some of his most popular songs: Flying, Photograph/Clair de Lune, Waltz for Sweatpants, Underground, I Hear a Symphony and What If. All of the songs were beautifully executed. The symphony added so much to the music since Fry is a symphony artist. I only heard his songs on Spotify, but hearing them in person was different; Fry’s voice was angelic. I would close my eyes and imagine I was fourteen again, new to his music, unknowing how much of an impact it made on me. Then, I opened my eyes and realized I had made it. I am here. 


Ben Rector sang “Let the Good Times Roll,” “Forever Like That,” “When I’m With You,” “The Mean That Drive Me Places,” “Loving You Is Easy,” “30,000 Feet,” and “Brand New.” Though new to his songs, I have enjoyed listening to Ben Rector every second. The first album I listened to by Rector was Live from Atlanta. From that album, my favorite song is “30,000 Feet”. There is something about it that makes me feel at peace. In the live version, joining Rector was a saxophone soloist named David Besonen, who delivered a fabulous solo in “30,000 Feet” during the bridge. Before Rector began to sing, he took a moment and said, “Welcome David Besonen to the stage.” I lost it. Besonen’s solo was phenomenal, and I couldn’t believe I could hear it live. During the song I was losing it, full-out tears. I’m pretty sure the people next to me thought I was crazy.


Rector and Fry sat side by side on the grand piano and played Iconic Duo, a song that sums up their friendship. The last song they sang was “Sailboat,” it felt so surreal sitting in the auditorium and listening to the song I have loved for years. Through the screaming, laughing, smiling, and crying, I am so thankful that Piper and I experienced this concert together.


I fulfilled my dream, but that does not mean I don’t want to see them again.