Hearts and Minds

15 02 2009

DISCLAIMER: The following post describes events that occured yesterday – but since I couldn’t get to a computer, I had to wait until now to write about it.

I tried – I really did. I got to school early, prayed about it, tried to get my attitude ready…and it all just came tumbling down.

First, the pianist/singer pops in only to tell me he can’t make it – he even brought his dad along, most likely for leverage. Refusing to be completely intimidated, I told him he should have told me ahead of time, since I had already hauled out the piano for him by the time he arrived – I also told him (his dad looked bewildered, for some reason) that I wouldn’t let him off the hook next rehearsal – I couldn’t afford to be lenient anymore.

Most of the orchestra actually arrived late – supposedly, the downbeat is at 9AM. It actually came down at 10.

Most of The Orchestra had forgotten how to play most of the songs – intonation was shoddy, tempo was ad libitum, dynamics were laissez faire. The Concertmaster had forgotten how to play her solos and was soundly trounced by a sectionmate that few people in the orchestra took seriously. All in all, results were dismally mediocre.

What made the whole fiasco unbearable was the fact that I knew things could be so much better – when these kids decide to do something well, the sound they produce will shock you. As it was, it was as if everyone just wanted to play the notes and get the whole thing over with.

I admit, my temper wore thin – very thin. I tried to get antidote on my tongue, but I’m afraid an acerbic word or two slipped out – which, although not aimed at any one person, likely had a demoralizing effect all the same.

I dismissed the orchestra one hour after our scheduled dismissal time. There was some groaning and whining, but not as much as in previous rehearsals; the usual whiners knew I was in no mood to so much as hear their verbalizations of self-imposed misery, so they tried to resort to visual forms of expression…which I shot down just the same.

My irritability lasted long into the day, all the way until a dinner performance for a church dinner fellowship smack in the middle of a military base – I snapped at a few people whom I felt (wrongly) were criticizing the way I was spending my valentines day (oh yeah, it was valentines day). Of course I felt awful immediately afterwards, and desperately apologized.

That was when I realized it was high-time I took the whole mess to God. In the resulting conversation, I realized that throughout the year, I had been praying for the skill of The Orchestra; it was time for me to pray about their attitude.

The skill part, I realized, God had poured out in abundance, almost without my realizing it – but I guess sometime during the year, I forgot the The Orchestra’s raison d’etre: our music is but a means to an end, and our end is that hearts and minds may be pointed upward, God-ward.

Of course, excellence is important – mediocrity is still the devil’s handiwork, but excellence without the proper perspective is hollow and empty – lasting only a moment, and no-less the devil’s handiwork compared to mediocrity.

I am reminded of my father’s words to my mother, back when I was floundering in The Darkness: “I am not interested in my son’s comfort – I am interested in his character.”




One response

15 02 2009

aw shocks. i feel bad for not attending the practice last Saturday. 😦 but honestly i am kinda thankful that i didnt experience your wrath. (kidding)

but to make you feel better, i would like to tell you that being part of this orchestra indeed made me a better person. i became more disciplined. it also gave me a new approach on how to worship God.

i didnt just love music i also fell more deeply inlove to the One who created music. 😉

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