One highlight from our December 3rd night was ‘Little Drummer Boy’. If you were there, you know. Something happened on this song. It was a signature moment from the night, which had a number of deep goodnesses (bagpipes, anyone?).
Now, full disclosure, the fourth or fifth grade me is really only one heartbeat away at any time. I am forever ready – too ready – for goofing off, jokes, or silliness to take hold. I remember so clearly getting out into the hall by Mrs. Keller for falling out of my desk for laughing so hard. Even now, being reverent is not my strongest suit. And, man, some circumstances and situations are especially ripe for silly-me to make a showing. Howbout a slightly intoxicated Geoff trying to lead a roomful singing, “ba rum pum pum pum” ad nauseum ad infinitum. Exactly. My edge was ripe for losing it there: a good giggling fit could not have been closer.
Instead, I was overwhelmed. No, really. To the point of getting choked up (on the 3rd verse I had to step back from singing at the mic because the words and music got to me; I needed a few deep breaths just to keep composure). To my right were dear friends and sopranos Elli and Tia. Down to my left was the boy-ish Mike Wilson, percussion master, playing his snare like clockwork. In front of me was the glow-ringed, glow-ing crowd singing with such sincerity. And too, with… force. These voices were loud and strong. And pure, there were no instruments save Mike. I took it all to mean, “Are we basically INSIDE this song? Are we in a space?”
I believe we were.
On a good group sing night, this is all that I need to know — that we are finding our voices harmonizing, blending, converging upon a space a song gave a map to (in our case with Beer & Hymns, often long ago) and we followed to a particular point. We, here, now, friends and strangers all >>> we find its true location, for a few minutes, among ourselves. It is a kind of magic, a sort of illusion, a surreality, but also something as real as real gets. Music is perhaps the greatest of mysteries in this way. What is it, really? What is it good for? Oscar Wilde wrote of art being the only truly serious thing.
Alright, maybe I am losing it, getting a bit woo-woo.
But maybe not.
I know we’ll gather again. We will sing again. We will find the ‘thereness’ through each other.
This was the fifth time we’ve been at Mercy Lounge, and December 3rd was the most profound crowd singing experience in terms of volume AND VOLUME I’ve been a part of. That maybe we are enjoying this more and more each time is extraordinary. I can’t wait to find these spaces again together.