Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Gig Gone Awry...

So...  it seems I've recently had a review lesson on a basic concept entitled:  Remember to Rely on God.  This is a concept I thought I had "mastered" but obviously, I have not.  Remembering to rely on God has been flying out of my brain lately as I get so distracted and lose my focus!  Let me explain.

I played harp at a local nursing home not too long ago and had some unusual problems.  This should have been an easy gig... a captive, appreciative, quiet audience on a beautiful spring day;  the program did not need to be long and could be a repeat of a former line-up as these were fresh listeners...  I had even practiced!  Easy peasy!!  Wrong!

I took my second-to-largest harp and got it moved into place without any problems.  The mic was ready... the audience was coming.  Great.  I welcomed everyone and announced the first song and with a grand flourish glissando-ed my way through the spellbinding intro only to find myself wildly distracted with "Vibrating String Syndrome."  Oh no!  Not "Vibrating String Syndrome" again!!!  If you are a harpist, you know what I'm talking about.  When you pluck harp strings under fluorescent lights, one string vibrates wildly to the rhythm of the lights. (I'm sure a physicist can explain this...) It looks like that string is wobbling and vibrating its way to breaking.  It's so weird and it's so distracting!  When I look at the strings, the wobbly one pulls all my attention and out flies all concentration.   All memory of what I am playing quickly evaporates and I'm stuck wondering where I am in that song and how I'm going to get to the end.  I'm totally distracted... strike 1...

And did I mention the birds?  This was one of those classy nursing homes with the huge birdcage - more like a small room - filled with beautifully colored birds for the residents to watch.  Well there must be something about harp music that sets birds off... These quietly chirping peepers, with bosoms thrust upward,  turned on their full-bodied voices and shouted out the Hallelujah Chorus while I was playing.  The audience thought nothing unusual was happening, but I was totally distracted and lost my focus... strike 2...

Before strike #3 could happen, way down deep in the center of my thinking a small still voice said, "Pray..."  and I responded with a silent desparate "Help me, Lord!"  What else could I do?  Instantly I remembered that I am to rely on God and that I'm doing something He wanted me to do.  Why would I think I didn't need His help?  Why would I think He wouldn't be glad to help?  Wjy would I get distracted from this very basic thought?  Quickly, I placed the entire gig into His hands, took a big breath, threw on a big smile and got down to business.  You know what happened:  the songs went well enough and the people were blessed, probably more than I'll ever know.  

The truth is, all moments of my life need to be put into His hands... and what would happen?  Perhaps I would be more efficient and more effective with everything I do!  Perhaps my panic level would go down and I could actually get down to business and stop being so distracted and out-of-focus.  Isaiah 41: 13 says it quite clearly:  'I am the Lord, your God, Who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.'


  1. Great blog once again, Janet!

  2. Great blog once again, Janet! Much to reflect on that we tend to forget....let go and let God.

  3. Melanie ChambersMay 2, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    I also enjoy playing at nursing homes and I often leave feeling more blessed than perhaps I made my audience feel. They are usually such an appreciative group. One 'performance' though, most of my audience wandered back to their rooms and the last two remaining were getting their afternoon nap... Humbling, but made me smile. I may be there someday.
    Have also done duets with singing birds. And sometimes a certain key on the piano would stick down, so had to work in pulling up the key during my songs.
    Have also had 'non-verbal' residents sing along with my music!! Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. I think most musicians, if they play enough gigs, accumulate a few horror stories. Mine seem to revolve around forgetting my song book! But now you've got me thinking about watching my guitar strings at that particular nursing home.