The Lindsays are prepping for a series of Celtic Christmas concerts in Scituate, Cotuit, and Falmouth. We're working with Stanley & Grimm on these concerts, and are currently in the heat of putting together our programs, planning for rehearsals, etc.
I remarked to a fellow faculty member at Bridgewater that such prep is a little stressful. He said, "If you're not prepared going into a performance, then you are stressed, and that stress comes out in your performance. But if you go in well-prepared, then what comes out is pure joy."
So true. By inference, then, practice is the way that we refine our ability to express joy.
Later last night, I was honored to witness joy in performance. I attended a concert at Bridgewater State. Power Batik, the college's jazz faculty trio, performed, with David Bond on sax and bass clarinet, Jacob Williams on bass, and Greg Conroy on drums. All of them extremely talented musicians, and the concert was very enjoyable. Conroy, in particular, projected joy visibly, and I told him so. His response was simple: "Well, this is what I like doing best of all. I just wish I could do it for a living."
"But you ARE doing it for a living," I said. Of course, he meant that he wishes he make a living performing, and not necessarily all the myriad other things musicians must do to get by--teaching, writing, editing, correcting papers, the incredible array of performance opportunities, paid and unpaid... All part of making a living as a musician.
But aren't these part of the whole? If we can undertake to do them with great joy, then what else do we need? Uh-oh. I hear an echo from my church upbringing...
This isn't the exact Bible verse, but an adaptation as I remember it:
"Whatever you do, undertake to do it with great joy, as for the spirit rather than for men..."
Despite being sick for the third day in a row, and exhausted, I practiced tonight. The spirit, both mine and the one that we all share, was surely gladdened.