Happy Days in Hamburg Lions enjoy a great convention stuffed with stars and spectacle. by Jay Copp He gently closed his eyes, slightly raised his olive-hued forehead and then delivered a stunning performance of “Ave Maria.” Andrea Bocelli’s pow-erful, lightning-bolt voice stilled the 13,000-seat arena in Hamburg. When he finished, Lions sat hushed for a nanosecond and then rose as one and burst into applause. Lions at convention take pride in being part of something that spans the world; after Bocelli finished and gratefully bowed his head Lions instantly understood they had witnessed a world-class performance. Bocelli awed the convention crowd after Lions Clubs Interna-tional presented him with its prestigious Humanitarian Award for his foundation’s work to help the blind and needy. His performance was one highlight among many at the hard-to-top 96th Interna-tional Convention in early July. Lions enjoyed five days of ora-tory, exhortation and performances by the well-known and the well-regarded. Former U.S. First Lady Laura Bush praised Lions for their literacy efforts. Basketball legend Yao Ming of China, taking the stage as an ambassador for Lions’ partner Special Olympics, downplayed his status as a superstar and deftly de-ferred to Special Olympians and Lions as true stars. The ven-erable but ever-youthful Up with People sang and danced with buoyant optimism for two high-wattage hours at the Inter-national Show. A clean, prosperous city, freshly adorned for a week with Lions flags and logos draped on or over poles, buildings and Andrea Bocelli proves he can sing as well as he can do good deeds as a humanitarian.