The plan was simple: Go all out. Stand out.
It didn’t matter that they didn’t have seats right near the stage, where pop star Taylor Swift would soon perform. They were thrilled just to be on the lawn, set back in Section B1 Row 36. From the moment the four teen girls left their homes in Middletown, they were “in it to win it,” as they say.
Now when September comes, Elise Rosenthal, 13, her fraternal twin sister Haley Rosenthal, Claire Doire, 13, and Clara Maurer, 14, will all have quite a story to tell from summer vacation—about how they got the VIP treatment and hung out with Grammy winner Taylor Swift.
Calling themselves the “4 Swifties 4 Life,” the teens went to Swift’s “Speak Now” concert at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on June 26, hoping, as many Swift fans do, for that slight chance be hand-picked to join the musician backstage in the ultimate VIP “T-Party” room.
The T-Party is a special treat each concert, reserved for the wildest fans to kick back with Taylor after a show, play some ping pong, eat some great food and get to know each other.
The challenge, of course, was to stand out at Gillette Stadium filled with other screaming fans.
The girls had been working on making posters, t-shirts and colorful matching outfits for more than a week.
“This was the second time for all of us being at a Taylor Swift concert, but our first time going together,” explained Elise Rosenthal. “We painted the car windows and the whole ride there we listened to her…We had made our own shirts and had face paint, bandannas, and about 60 glow sticks!”
But they knew that even 60 glow sticks was not going to cut it.
When it came time for the T-Party portion of the concert—at which point Taylor Swift’s biggest fans are hand-picked from the audience for a VIP meeting backstage—the girls knew they really had to shine.
‘Never stop dancing’
“We really wanted to meet Taylor, so we advised each other to ‘never stop dancing until we met Taylor,’” recalled Rosenthal.
The dancing and singing along started during the opening acts. Then, about halfway through opening act NeedToBreathe, the girls covered themselves in those 60 glowsticks.
“I would say we really stood out compared to the people around to us,” Rosenthal said.
Then, they all saw her walk right by them—Taylor’s mom.
They were sitting fairly close to the aisle and dancing their hearts out, Claire Doire recalled, when they recognized Andrea Swift walking past.
“We've seen lots of videos and pictures on various different websites and TV shows from Taylor, since we're really obsessed, so we recognized her from those,” Doire noted.
In every proper and respectful way they knew how, they called out to her.
“We screamed ‘Mama Swift, Mrs. Swift, Andrea’ and we just hoped that she'd heard us,” Doire said.
But Mama Swift continued walking.
‘…Screaming and crying and hyperventilation occurred…’
After a few minutes passed, lo and behold, a young woman approached them.
“Do you guys know what the T-Party is?” the young woman asked. “Have you ever met Taylor Swift?”
“At that point, we burst out in tears,” said Rosenthal. “We all barely managed to say ‘No,’ because we were crying and screaming and out of breath…Then, a lot of hugging and screaming and crying and hyperventilation occurred, for about three songs straight!”
“None of us could believe it,” Doire recalled. “All four of us were sobbing and screaming. I couldn't breathe.”
From ‘shining example of southern hospitality' to 'I'm not functioning properly'
When they arrived at the T-Party after the show, Claire Doire recalled the room looked “like a fairy tale," with floor to ceiling curtains and couches all around, decorations, pictures, food, along with dresses and props from movies and TV.
“At one point I thought it was a dream, because I had dreamed of the moment sooo many times,” said Elise Rosenthal.
Before Taylor Swift came in, the girls were introduced to band members who posed for photos and signed items with the girls.
After their near-meeting in the concert aisle earlier that evening, the girls again met Andrea Swift, a.k.a “Mrs. Swift” or “Mama Swift.”
“We kept thanking her over and over again for picking us and she told us that we deserved it,” Doire said. “Mama Swift is really one of the nicest people I've ever met. She's the shining example of southern hospitality.”
“Taylor's dad asked us if we needed any more pizza or anything,” Doire added. “I remember saying to him ‘Oh my gosh, hi! Thank you, but I can't really eat right now. I'm not functioning properly!"
'Never give up…'
The hostess of the T-Party, Taylor herself, arrived a short time later to greet the room of roughly two dozen fans.
The Middletown girls were the last group to meet Taylor. The singer gave hugs all around and in an instant, all the girls were in tears, overwhelmed with joy.
Seeing their idol in person was a little strange at first, they recalled, because suddenly she was no longer on a small TV screen, nor was she a far away figure on stage.
“She was so life-size!” exclaimed Elise Rosenthal.
“It was amazing,” said Doire, recalling how Swift spoke with them for about 2-5 minutes. “She told us that she loved our homemade T-shirts and all of our glow sticks and that she was so happy that we came, and that she wanted us to come see her again. We promised that we would!”
Clara, 14, told the award-winning singer-songwriter about how she also played guitar, because she had been inspired by Swift.
Then young Clara’s networking instincts kicked as she confidently exchanged her YouTube username for Taylor to see her sing, recalled Claire.
“Taylor told her to never give up,” Claire said. “It was so sweet.”
‘4 Swifties 4 Life’
Before Taylor Swift left to catch her plane, she signed the Middletown girls’ shirts, tickets and programs and gave more hugs.
“We thanked her for making this the best night of our life, and she said we were all very sweet. I almost died right then and there!” said Elise Rosenthal.
Claire Doire admittedly became a little tongue-tied and suddenly forgot to say everything she had always planned to tell Taylor Swift in such a moment. She did, however, remember to tell her the foursome called themselves “4 Swifties 4 Life.”
"She really liked that a lot," said Doire.
“Basically, our life mission was accomplished!" said Elise Rosenthal. "We were dancing all the way back to our car, and on the ride home, we could NOT stop talking about it...When we got back, we were still star-struck...We are, and forever will be, enchanted.”