I played music in public on Sunday.
It’s been four years (!!!) since I have been in a band. For five years, from 2004-2009, Scott and I helped lead the singing at a little church just a few miles down the road from our little first-time-homeowners house. I played the keyboard, sang into a mic when the music was simple, and occasionally plunked away on the piano when our regular pianist was out of town. But I sang only a handful of times at our most recent church, at first because grief had wrecked me, and I simply couldn’t sing. Later, I assume (though I don’t know this for sure), that I was never asked because I was at odds with the leaders there and they systematically kept me out of everything (except the nursery — apparently I couldn’t lead the babies into heresy!). I didn’t mind. I couldn’t make music there.
I don’t have a great solo voice. It isn’t showy or trained. Maybe that means it’s a good “sing along with me” voice. I hope so. I like singing with people. My skill on the keyboard could best be described in one word: hack. I stumble around the ivories, not intimate enough with them to improvise, fill in, and create. However, I know enough about music and making music to appreciate the talents of others, and to enjoy filling a background role in the making. And I have missed it.
This Sunday, Scott and I rose at the buttcrack of dawn, dragged our kids out of bed, and hauled ourselves to our new church for a 7:30am rehearsal. Our worship team rehearsals will be on Tuesday nights, but last week Tuesday was a holiday. So 7:30am it was.
I wasn’t sure what I’d be doing. The planning email asked us both to do vocals. When I walked onto the platform, I saw a xylophone (or is it a glockenspiel? which one is metal?) on the top level, stage right. Jeff, the worship leader, gestured toward them. “You game to give these a try today?”
I grinned. Call me crazy. Call me a free spirit. But I’m always game for an adventure, even when it’s playing out on a platform in front of 200 people.
“It’s laid out like a piano,” he explained.
I picked up the sticks and introduced myself to the bells. Chords. Melody. Rhythm. I listened, experimented as the bass boomed to my left, the pianist riffed to my right, and my husband harmonized with the leader. We learned two new songs in those three hours before the service began. My youngest watched, listened, clapped, and more than once tried to steal my instrument from me.
“Please may I play?” he begged.
“I’m sorry, bud. When you learn an instrument, you can play. But you have to learn first.”
I’m not sure if I smiled that morning. I may be an adventurer but I also dislike making mistakes, especially the discordant kind. So it may not have been obvious just how much fun I had playing in the worship band on Sunday. But it’s true.
It was fun. I had fun. I enjoyed a worship service, really enjoyed it, for the first time in a very very long time.