Contest winner shares her Live From Daryl's House experience

We recently gave our listeners a chance to win tickets to Hall and Oates when they play the Bell Center on July 13, 2018. Plus, each winner qualified for a chance to win a trip to New York to see a private performance at Daryl's House! Our grand prize winner, Annette Aghazarian, joined us on the CHOM phone earlier this morning to share what the experience was like (listen below) and also wrote this terrific review of the show and letter:

When I woke up that Monday morning on March 19th, I had no idea that it was gonna be the start of a great adventure.  I was in my pajamas drinking coffee when I heard Terry DiMonte announce a contest to win tickets to see Hall and Oates. 

So, I called.  I was caller number five and they were were looking for number nine.  I was disappointed but I pressed redial and waited.  I heard that familiar voice and began to panic.  I knew my husband and son were listening to CHOM in the car on their way to school and I didn’t want to screw up. 

Well, I somehow managed to guess that backwards snippet of the song and won two tickets to see Hall and Oates.  If that wasn’t exciting enough, my name was put into a draw to go to Daryl’s house.  Daryl’s House in New York where legendary musicians from Booker T to Billy Gibbons jammed.  Daryl is so cool that Robby Krieger and Ray Manzarek showed up and played Roadhouse Blues.

Four days later, I was sitting at work when my phone rang and my heart jumped out of my chest. I couldn’t believe that I was the lucky winner of the grand prize.  Airfare and hotel accommodations to New York City! That wasn’t even the best part. I was going to Daryl’s house.  I could not contain my excitement! I thought I was gonna have a heart attack. I could not believe my luck!  But was it only luck? 

Last year, my son Niko was learning to play Joe Walsh’s Funk 49 on guitar.  I had shown him the clip of Joe jamming at Daryl Hall’s house and he loved it.  When I posted it on Facebook On June 19, 2017, I tagged my son’s guitar teacher Kev saying “One day we’re going to play at Daryl’s house.”

Fast forward 9 months later and there I was for real, Live at Daryl’s House.  It was quite a journey. I almost didn’t make it. When I arrived at the American Airlines counter on the day of my trip,  I was advised that most flights were cancelled due to a snowstorm in New York and my plane would be delayed for many hours. As the agent gave me the bad news, I felt like a little girl who was holding so tightly to a shiny red balloon, when suddenly her fingers slipped and she watched it fly far far away from her, up in the sky.

“Oh no” I gasped.  “ I need to get on the next available flight. I have to make it to Daryl’s house.”  I explained about the contest and that our time was very limited. I’m not sure if it was my desperate demeanour or maybe she just wanted to get this crazy lady away from her counter but she managed  to hook me up on Air Canada flight right away.  The Rock Gods were on my side and I am forever grateful.

Heading over to US customs I couldn’t get that goofy grin off my face. When the 6 foot two, navy seal looking dude asked me what the purpose of my trip was I simply stated “I’m going to Daryl’s House.”

“Excuse me m’am?” His expression was stern and as my husband rolled his eyes, I began to tell him about the CHOM contest and my love for Daryl Hall.  As fate would have it, the customs agent told me that he actually met Daryl hall once on the job and that he was a super nice guy. He smiled and wished us well.

The day of the show was dark and gloomy, raining nonstop but nothing could dampen my spirits. Getting on the tour bus felt like a high school field trip without chaperones.  Even though the average age was at least 40, we all sang and laughed and could barely contain our excitement.  That 2 hour drive through those. Dukes of Hazzard looking back roads felt like forever but we finally made it.

When the band-members all  got onto the little stage I felt an immediate rush.  I couldn’t believe that I was actually sitting a couple of feet away from Daryl Hall.  He was so charming and charismatic, cracking jokes and thanking us all for being a part of this special performance. 

Dressed in faded jeans, a T-shirt and a leather motorcycle jacket he looked more like 21 not 71.  Even though his signature long hair was more silver than blonde, he radiated with the youthful exuberance of a man who purely enjoys doing what he does. 

His voice was so warm and soulful as he belted his classic hits and even a brand new track that sounded fresh and funky. 

To say that Daryl Hall is a musician’s musician is an understatement.   Not just because he has the ability to  transition so easily from guitar to piano, or that he can make another artist’s song sound like his own.  It is in his respect and appreciation for great music and musicians.  He created Daryl‘s House because he enjoys having musical guests come to his house and jam and he is generous enough to share these wonderful shows with all of us.  I only wish that I could invite him to my house one day. Who knows?

Annette Aghazarian
April 5th 2018

Last year, as my 50th birthday was approaching I suddenly realized that the only thing worse than getting old was becoming boring.

My life had become a series of dull and depressing chores and responsibilities.  I was like an unpaid Uber driver, taking my son to school, orthodontist and various activities, driving my 85-year-old mother to all her appointments and grocery shopping etc.  My “free” time was spent running errands in between going to work and taking care of my home.  At least once a day I would wonder; “ is this my life now?”

One day while driving to the hospital, I was listening to CHOM when song came on the radio that snapped me out of my dreary haze.  I heard a harp and some crazy strings and I was immediately hooked.  I discovered The Barr Brothers and every time I heard Half Crazy, my son would say; “hey mom, they’re playing your song.”

Then I discovered The Damn Truth and went to see them perform.  I realized that I was missing out on some brilliant local talent. Satellite radio is great but it doesn’t connect you to your city. I started going to concerts again and feeling like my old (younger) self again.

I had spent the last couple of years watching my father suffer and finally lose his battle with cancer.  Then, I had my own health issues and I was really fed up of hospitals and medications.  I missed having fun and feeling free.  I know that I can’t turn back time but I can make the most of the time that I have left.

I was probably around 13 when my taste in music began to really expand from The Beatles to The Clash.  I would borrow records from the library or buy them from secondhand stores. I would wait patiently by the radio for the DJ to announce what songs would be coming up and then press play and record on my tape deck to capture the latest hits.  It was the late 70s and Spotify did not exist yet.  I can still remember the excitement I felt as I stood in my kitchen and dialed a rotary phone to make a request.  Ralph Lockwood answered my call and I heard my little voice on CKGM.  I felt like a superstar.

Then came CHOM.  Sure I had amassed a pretty impressive vinyl and cassette collection by then and didn’t need to listen to the radio, but there was something about feeling connected to a community of local rock enthusiasts that really drew me in.

So fast forward about 30 odd years and as John Lennon so brilliantly said “ Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.”

Work, marriage, kids, bills, illness, death and all of that grown up crap that you can’t avoid had taken its toll.  One day, after spending an entire day at the clinic, hoping to get a cortisone shot for my swollen knee, the doctor flatly told me; “no more running, no more spinning, you’re getting old”.

It was right then when my 13 year old rebel self decided to reappear. “Fuck this shit” I said and limped out of the clinic. OK, so I wasn’t wearing my Sex Pistols T-shirt, my studded dog collar and a Mohawk but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let some stranger tell me to that I was old.

I hadn’t realized how much I missed my 13 year old self until I remembered how fun and fearless she was.  Skipping school to go to Sam the Record Man, [...] and learning how to play Zeppelin on guitar, going to countless shows from Pink Floyd to The Clash.  Where did she go?

On January 8th 2017, I was listening to CHOM’s Classic Vinyl Sunday when the prize announced was a special edition boxed set in honor of David Bowie’s birthday.  I turned to my son and told him that I was going to win that prize.  Now, I hadn’t called CHOM in decades but I am a very serious Bowie fan and for some reason I was sitting by the radio that night and I knew the answer to the question. 

My husband laughed at me as I jumped for joy when they announced my name as the  winner.  I felt that same rush that I used to feel when I was a kid.  It had been a very long time since I felt like that.

A few months later, I won tickets to the launch of Roger Waters’ new album.  I took my 13 year old son with me to the Phi Center for the very first time and it was a wonderful experience.  We met Bilal who was super friendly and made my kid feel like a rockstar.

Last year I went to so many concerts and connected with some awesome people.  I even attended the good-bye bash for Tootall.  By rediscovering my passion for music, I rediscovered myself and it all began by turning on my radio.


March 15, 2018
Annette Aghazarian
Music Enthusiast