Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say Rejoice....and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4,7)
Well he might as well have been Bruce Springsteen. Here we were, blessedly inside the Atlantic Bubble this summer and in Skinners Pond, PEI. Famous to many of you – a true place of pilgrimage, to the childhood home of Stompin’ Tom Connors. Up on stage in a room that was relatively new, designed to look like a local church basement (think Copp Hall) was a man about my age with a guitar and an amplifier. He admitted that he was filling in for the regular guy, but he was real glad to be there. And if we applauded and kept him going longer, it would delay his return to his real job as the maintenance guy at the one and only local seniors’ home. Not that he didn’t love those seniors, but this was a nice break. He also admitted that he had only one Stompin’ Tom tune in his repertoire, which he dutifully played. But then he moved on to what he loved, a collection of Maritime ballads and folk songs that that had people clapping their hands, stomping their feet and filling the hall with gladness. We all knew this was special – live music in the middle of a pandemic. The sense of delight was palatable – really, it felt as if he were Bruce Springsteen!
We recognized that this was special and savoured the moment. It also caused me to reflect on my longing for live music. It need not be the finest professional performance, just the opportunity for folks to share their talents and their creativity. I recognize that people have been trying their hardest, our own talented choir members among them. Perhaps what I am longing for is the human element in a live performance. The guy in PEI who stopped a song after a few bars, said he did not have the tempo quite right and would start over again. That human instinct to try to get it right, to take pride in our craft, to be willing to admit that the first attempt didn’t go so well and to try again. Life behind screens of various kinds loses some of that humanity. We long for real connection, with its high and lows.
But in the meantime, people are trying. Let’s support them as best we can. Tafelmusik comes to mind as a local favourite. For us, attending their Messiah each Christmas is a lovely tradition. This year, apparently, they are trying a virtual version. I loved the picture showing their efforts (above) that came into my inbox this week - without doubt, creativity in action. Here is a link to a part of the Messiah, to remind of us past creative joy and to encourage us to seek out people trying their best to entertain, to transform - perhaps even aiming for transcendence this Christmas season.
If you listen hard, you may hear the lovely soprano voice of our own Susan Suchard. She will be leading our choir in the great RUC annual tradition of Advent Music Sunday, this Sunday, December 13 @ 10:30 am. Even better, they will be singing from The Messiah!
May we enjoy and find peace.