Like so many other people in this world, music means a lot to me. I am a musician. I play the piano, the violin, and various percussion instruments, and I can sing.

Let me just say here and now that I don't do any of these things on anything close to a professional level. American Idol I am not. I do well enough for most church things, though trying to play the accompaniment for Handel's Hallelujah Chorus eludes me, and will until I practice it for a year straight, which I haven't the gumption to do.

I dream of being professional though. That whole "American Idol I am not" phrase up there is something that I've daydreamed about. Getting up there and looking good--after I have lost that last 10 pounds of course (which isn't going to happen this week in that I just ate a serving of homemade vanilla ice cream with a piece of Devil's Food Cake)--and wowing those three judges. Having Simon say something like "I never thought a mother of four could win this competition, but you just blew me away!" I've even imagined the songs I would sing. Some of them would be heartfelt--like "Love Changes Everything", and some would be sassy. I'd release my inner vixen one night and shock Simon and the world because who ever thought some mom somewhere could pull that off! And finally, I'd pull out my fiddle and I'd do "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"--this would be finale night, of course--and the whole audience would be raving crazy over my performing prowess and of course, I'd win, and then I'd sing something like "Once in Every Lifetime" and bring the audience to tears.

And then the reality hits. I know that I'm not always on pitch all of the time. I'm not a young cluck any more. My stomach has seen it's flat days and they are gone--about three kids ago. And the reality is that I wouldn't even want to truly compete on American Idol. I wouldn't want to leave my family for that long. I wouldn't want the fame that comes with it. (Although when I look at the looming student loan debt, the fortune sounds good.) And if we are facing the true facts, I don't practice near enough to become anything like professional.

And I realize that I like my life the way it is, musically speaking. I play the piano for the choir, but we have more than one pianist, so I get to sing some as well. My children and I are constantly singing something or other--usually VeggieTales.

Did I say I like my life, musically speaking?

Almost. I miss two things terribly.

Make that three.

1-I miss being in an orchestra--preferably concert master or section leader. I miss the challenge of looking at a piece and wondering whether I'd ever be able to learn it, and then performing it to the best of my ability three or four months later. I miss finding new gems when a conductor pulls out something to play and I find I love it. I even miss the songs that I hated playing. I miss being part of a group. A big group that makes wondrous things together. And when I say orchestra, I mean, a full orchestra. Brass. Woodwinds. Percussion. Pianos and Saxophones. Violins and Trumpets. And Horns. We can't forget the French Horns (since Faramir plays French Horn and through orchestra is how we met). I miss it. Sometimes a song will come on--some symphony by Dvorak or Beethoven--and suddenly I am in tears. Half of those tears are for the beauty of what I am listening to. And half of those tears are for my pain in not being part of the group. Sometimes it's difficult being me. I'm never fully happy in any musical setting. If I'm playing I want to be listening. If I'm listening I want to be playing/singing. If I'm conducting, which I have been known to do, I'm wishing I was playing or singing. I can never get enough.

1--I miss being part of a bluegrass band. You know that dream up in the American Idol rant about "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"? I have, ever since I first heard that song, wanted to play it and sing it. Me. The lead singer. Wailing away on my violin to beat the band. I hear the Chuck Daniels version of it and I think, "I could never do it that well." But I want to. In front of a huge audience, an audience going crazy and clapping and whooping and hollering. I'm a country girl almost as much as I'm a classical girl and I love being in a bluegrass band. They are happy places to be. I mean really, have you ever seen a bluegrass band live and not smiled.

1---I guess both of these things come down to the same thing. I miss performing. I miss being the center of attention. I miss getting up in front of a crowd and making them laugh and have fun, or being part of something that tugs at them emotionally. I miss it.

I miss it all. I get a smattering at church, but at least in my church, it's not correct to have people clapping their hands. I attend a calm and sedate church. (Can I admit something here? Just once, I want to go to some church where they are expected to all get up and sing together, clapping their hands and going a wee bit crazy. And I want to let myself go and see what comes out of my mouth. Just once.)

Don't get me wrong, I love performing in church. I love bringing the Spirit of the Lord into a meeting with a beautiful song. It's such an intense feeling, and I truly do enjoy it.

But it's not quite the same thing as being silly on stage.

And I miss it.
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3 Responses
  1. Kimberly Says:

    This post really touched me in so many ways. I can just feel that slight longing...that wanting of, not something better, but something different. Something you used to have and while you wouldn't trade what you currently have, still miss.

    I feel that way a lot. About music, writing, just life, really.

    Incredible post.

  2. charrette Says:

    I understand that longing too. Now that my kids are a tad older I've had a bit more center stage than I did before...it was a rush, but short-lived. I'm grateful for the performance opportunities church affords, both soloing and in the choir. But it is a very different experience from the euphoria you get from a wildly enthusiastic audience. (Okay, I'm imagining a bit here.)

    Very nice post, and honest reflection. I like it.

  3. EEEEMommy Says:

    My heart really resonates with this post too. A part of me still dreams of being Juliet or Eliza Doolittle.

    I do enjoy leading worship at church, but leading worship and performing are two totally different things. As we lead worship, my goal is to serve as an instrument that points others to God. I must decrease and He must increase. That's not always easy for someone who was born with a little limelight in her blood. ;)

    The other thing I really miss is the blending of voices in a choir. I go to one of those contemporary hand-clapping lifting your hands up churches (you're welcome to join me any time you're in Indiana :)) that doesn't have a traditional choir. I miss the kind of choral church music I sang in college! It's such a thrill to be a part of that type of choir.

    Great post!

    P.S. Even when you're annonymous, I still recognized your voice. Love you! :)