By Jerry Earl Johnston,
Deseret News
Published: Saturday, August 15, 2015

The ovation went on and on.

Michael Ballam had just sung “The Impossible Dream” from Utah Festival Opera’s “Man of La Mancha” and – true to form – he refused to break character as people clapped and whistled.

The clamor was for the song, of course, a true Broadway showstopper.

It was also for Don Quixote, the old gent who dared to run where the brave dare not go.

But it was mostly for Ballam himself, the Cache Valley kid who dreamed the impossible – a professional opera company in Logan.

Eventually the dream became merely improbable, then reality.

Ballam had been true to his quest. And the Logan audience was saluting him for it.

Some dreams can indeed seem futile. But to quote that famous Asian philosopher, Bloody Mary, “If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?”

While watching Ballam in Logan, I thought how the director of the movie version of “La Mancha,” Arthur Hiller, pulled off a nifty stunt. He had Quixote sing “The Impossible Dream” in a small upper room.

As Quixote sings, the camera pulls back. The glowing window grows smaller while the grit and grind of the street grow louder until the world drowns out the light and music.

To quote that famous French philosopher, Fantine, you may “dream a dream” but the “tigers come at night with voices loud as thunder.”

But dreams are both resilient and fragile. Like panes of glass, they can weather a chilly rain, but then a tiny pebble comes along and shatters them to pieces.

It’s amazing dreams survive at all.

But they do.

Don Quixote and his quixotic quest have lasted 400 years.

And then there’s Michael Ballam.

Sometimes the staying power of a dream is all in the staying power of the dreamer. Ballam’s song the other night may have been a small moment in a small Utah city, but those in the hall heard his song. More to the point, they felt it. And they’ll remember it and tell others.

Pass it along. That’s how a dream remains alive.

Today, for instance, you’re reading about that dream in this column. And if you’re reading it, perhaps somebody else is reading it, too.

True dreams never die because the dreamers simply won’t allow it.

To quote that famous American philosopher, Nettie Fowler, the great dreamers “walk on through the wind and rain” though their dreams get “tossed and blown.”

And that courage convinces others to dream the dream as well.