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Performance anxiety

May 27, 2017

Photo on 6-10-16 at 4.39 AM

May 27, 2017

I made two errors:  First, Barbara Dobesh asked me to perform special music this Sunday at the Church of the Fervently Religious and I did not say ’no, that’s out of the question.’  I caved because we will welcome new members.  Also I never say ‘no’ to Barbara.

Second, I got weak in the knees and did not choose to sing my powerful “Libera me” from Faure’s Requiem.  I think I could have gotten the congregation to writhe in their seats if I had sung Faure.  No.  Instead, I agreed to make music and I picked out the Beatles’ song, “With a Little Help from my Friends”  because it asks the question ‘what would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me?’

Of course there’s ego.  I had triumphant dreams in which I bludgeoned the crowd with “Libera me” as though I were singing opera, leaving the group wincing.  However, I changed to the lightweight Beatles tune.  I hope this comes across friendlier.

The aforementioned Beatles’ piece has meaning for me in the context of church, even if the song isn’t particularly religious (unless one is a Rastafarian).  First, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band came out exactly 50 years ago this Spring.  I remember where I was and what I was doing the first time I heard it.

Second, “With a Little Help from my Friends” was the first Beatles song I learned to play on the guitar.  I bought sheet music that had the difficult chords.

Third, and most importantly, the “downstairs coffee house” at the University Congregational Church in Missoula was the venue for me to play the song for my hippie friends of all genders and sexual persuasions.  Thus my relationship with the United Church of Christ is also 50 years old.  In fact, before we visited the coffee house I didn’t know such a church existed.  I’ve been a member nearly 40 years.

I hope those joining the church in Billings enjoy as long and satisfactory a relationship with it as I have.

Of course, my real problem is a lack of guitar skills.  In fact, P. gave me the nickname “strummy” because of my lack of finger picking.  My musical offering is likely to fall flat unless I can entice people to sing along with me.  It’s such a short song, perhaps I’ll play it twice and ask them to sing along as best they can.

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One Comment
  1. Get em’ high first. Always works for me!

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