The signal on the outside are bells ringing in the foyer, on the inside the lights go down and we know something extraordinary is about to happen. What has been invisible is about to become visible. We know to get ready; our preparedness will be rewarded with the strike of a chord and our senses are called to attention the relationship between the performers and the audience has been consummated.
I love live music. I deeply appreciate the thousands of hours of effort to get into a place to be able to walk on stage, the hundreds of people involved to enable this feat to take place and the community of support required to make it happen. It is so instructional to me. The over night success twenty years in the making or the random gift of a proud Mum leaving a message on Instagram that enables a 15year old to take the stage. The generosity and grace of seasoned performers is always on show by the ones who really know and embrace the privilege.
It is not just on the stage though that we can see this phenomenon. Earlier in the day I had been at my grandson’s seventh birthday where hours and hours of effort into making treats and games and a complicated Dragon pinata were on display and fully embraced by the young guests. Setting the scene for each activity requiring clarity about what was about to happen, how to fully prepare, participate, and bring your own appreciation to the moment. Between the tuile of princesses and masks of Minecraft characters, there were sugar fuelled squeals of delight, not too different to the audience at Thebarton Theatre later in the evening. The human experience of gathering to celebrate, appreciate, play being universal and not bound by age. The concert’s theme was Child in Reverse and it seemed a fitting bookend to the day.
There are a lot of stops and starts going on with COVID interruptus at the moment. Things not quite landing, work arounds, re-scheduling, disappointing-not-quite-right-a-bit-annoying is what we are all experiencing. Being a lifelong improviser, I do not mind the challenge of living inside these beautiful constraints, yet I see my social media feed full of unhappy travellers stranded or not quite arriving the way they want too in the school holidays.
These moments are offering up the opportunity to just stop, pause and start again. I loved how the singing pair last night in the concert, did just that, a tiny error, a wayward word, was the cause. And then with good humour, professionalism and absolute precision, they picked up where they had left off. I appreciated the lesson in front of a packed half-masked up auditorium.
We all have times when things do not go our way, it doesn’t mean we can’t adapt. It is an invitation, a big wide invitation, to see what we can make of the moment. When the seven-year-olds were waiting in anticipation their turn in pass-the-parcel and the music didn’t quite stop when the rotating gift arrived to their expectant hands and lap, some lingered with their hold, others passed it like a hot potato to keep it moving while others wistfully watched it go past with longing in their eyes.
Not all our expectations will be realised, is a lesson learnt early, and often. We always have a choice to pick up where we left off and draw on our invisible experience and strength to keep the show going. We are never alone, entire battalions of people have enabled all of us to get to that point, they maybe invisible to us in the moment, but they have been there and getting up again is a way of honouring all the effort that has gone before to enable us to be ready and available to accept the invitation when it arrives.