Talking about music is like dancing about architecture. –Elvis Costello
…but of course I’m going to try, anyway!
For three hours tonight, all was right with the world again.
We had our first official rehearsal for the concert this weekend. It was just three of the six choirs that will be joining the St. Louis Jesuits onstage on Sunday. It was about an hour longer than we thought it would be. It was very technical, mostly bits and pieces of songs, not really running anything beginning to end. It was quite tedious at moments, and mildly thrilling at other moments.
And it was the best three hours I’ve had all week. All month. Possibly all year!
If I could do that all the time, just sit in the middle of a big ensemble of musicians and play or sing, I would. All the time.
Not to mention, the strange thrill of a performance…unlike anything else I do in my life. Talking about concert dress, waivers for permission to be video recorded, “the venue will be open to musicians at this time,” sound check, “house doors open at this time,” encores, etc. Am I nervous? No. Will I be nervous on Sunday? Oddly, no, I will not. It’s a thrill, but not a source of anxiety. It feels like home to me.
Maybe I need more of this in my life.
Besides, the concert is going to be fantastic! These are the guys who wrote a lot of the music we hear in church. “City of God.” “The Cry of the Poor.” “Here I Am, Lord.” “Come to the Water.” And so on. And they will be performing the songs the way they meant them. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had this notion that church songs are so beautiful, they should be performed for the sake of the music, not only for church. This is going to be an exact realization of that idea! By the end of the concert, if the audience doesn’t love God more than when they walked in, if they don’t feel the weight of what Jesus did for them, if their hearts aren’t flooded with joy in God’s love…then I don’t know how else to reach them! This is the best way I know to be close to God, and to show people what He means to me. “Listen to this song!” you’ll hear me say, because I don’t know how else to convey what I mean.
As always, it feels so selfish. I’m almost positive I will get more out of this experience then the audience will! If I really want to show them, they need to come stand next to me and sing! Sitting and listening to a concert is nothing compared to participating. This is something I’ve realized since I was about 16. I can’t make you feel what it feels like. So, I suppose we all have our roles. The audience sits and listens and watches, and we who are onstage sing and play and entertain. I don’t know what it feels like to sit in the audience and not know what it feels like to be onstage. For all the times I have sat in an audience and enjoyed a concert/play/musical/whatever, it is more fun to be onstage. I think the wrong group of people might be paying for the experience!
So, quick today, five things I’m grateful for. This is easy. Tim Manion, Dan Schutte, Bob Dufford, John Foley, and Roc O’Connor…The St. Louis Jesuits. Their music, along with other church music from my childhood, is what soaked into my soul and held on through times when God and I weren’t very close to one another.