end of the week…almost
Here we are, just before the traditional “beginning of the year” for educators and students: Labor Day weekend. Each year when I taught, I would spend the these three days poised on the brink of something. The expectation that accompanied the first day of school was always preceded by the notion that whatever lay ahead, it would be an exciting journey. Even though I no longer take that annual trip into the unknown, I still identify with the process. The weather changes, things start moving again (especially here in the nation’s capitol area) and people start doing things.
Those of us who are performers will soon begin our annual ramp up, the preparation for that first exhilarating moment of being onstage and trying to sell out souls to an audience. Whether I work on the stage or in the wings, the feeling is still the same. Whatever comes before the actual moment of a performance is just the preamble to the real thing. The closer I come to concert day, the more I crave the experience.
Because I have been performing in public since I was five years old (really), there are some things that go on automatic when I perform. I stand taller and my face feels lighter somehow. I feel a buzz when we sing exactly in tune. My body has been trained to feel the pulse of an audience, and I can almost hear them breathe as the concert progresses. I can sense when they are fully engaged, and when we seem to lose their attention. The applause may be politely controlled or slightly frenetic, depending on whether the music or movement just skimmed the surface of their being or has truly invaded their consciousness. The look of surprise when the latter happens make the hours of preparation worthwhile. I call it “hitting their heart with our music,” and it is a truly rare experience, not to be forgotten. Once you get that feeling, nothing else will ever be as satisfying.
So, as the teachers and students take their last break before the new school year begins, I wish you all the luck of a perfect performance. May you connect in ways you never thought possible, and may the lessons you learn serve you well in what’s next in your life.