© 2009 Lynsey

089 – Gift of the amateur

Music, after all, is the background score to our lives, not merely surviving in our memory banks long after so many of our seemingly stronger memories have faultered, but serving to remind us of who we were at a given moment of our lives, where we were, what we dreamed of, what we feared, and of course who we loved. — unknown

As I watched some of the choir leave the Old Town Hall’s auditorium I was reminded of the gift of the amateur. Our lives are made better by people making a contribution – giving up their time to entertain us (in this instance), or help in some other way. Without wanting to diminish the concert, it’s little more than the visible tip of the iceberg of effort. Hundreds of hours of combined and private rehearsals, piled on hours of sorting and arranging the music, built over a foundation of fund raising, schmoozing, negotiating, cleaning, putting things away, and generally trying to move the entire camel train of people and event forward.

I’ve got a soft spot for the amateur performance. There’s an authenticity and camaraderie with the audience that is often either lacking or contrived in overly engineered performances. Everyone knows what their roles are. More than once I’ve heard ‘stars’ talking with love about how good unplugged, intimate performances are, and while the productions are great, the more bijou gigs are special.

Tonight was the one and only performance of the Orpheus Choir‘s exploration of the Cole Porter song book. After the hours and efforts and personal sacrifices big and small, the choir sang, the people applauded, a glass or two of wine was sipped, and everyone went home. Quiet descends in the auditorium.

But not silence.

There is a-buzzing and a-humming going on. The camel train is already hard at work. Auditions have been held and rehearsals are already well underway for the next engagement – Mahler’s epic tribute to the powers of love, the Symphony No. 8, to be conducted by Vladimir Ashkenazy in February 2010. After all the hours and efforts and personal sacrifices big and small, the choir will sing, the people will applaud, a glass or two of wine will be sipped, and everyone will go home. Quiet descends in the auditorium.

But not silence.

15. Every day make a difference to yourself and others.
18. Every day express love. Some people need to hear it. Most people need to see it. Don’t take it for granted.
38. Every day be brave and give things a go. Use fear to trigger you into action.