Here's a few things I learned, on the professional side:
- Inspiration strikes at unlikely times and often presents itself as an utterly ridiculous idea. Our executive pastor, Dennis Green, reminded me last night that after we heard Andrew Peterson and company do Behold the Lamb last year in Richmond, he had leaned over and asked me if we could do something like that at PCC. I had laughed and pretty much told him he was nuts. But the seed was planted, and it slowly sprouted...
- It helps to give things away. I think, for the first real time, I learned the value of delegation. It was hard, at times, having to say, "I don't know" to a myriad of questions. But everything was so much better because other people lived into their strengths. Christine Peyton created a dramatic element with the children, the manger, Mary and Joseph that reflected her understanding of the story. It was beautiful. Walter Felton eat, slept and breathed this music for months, and cast visions of dedicated excellence to the other musicians that was impossible to deny. He led, spiritually and musically, in a way that allowed others to grow and prosper.
- Moving our big event to the weekend prior to Christmas, rather than Christmas Eve, was a very good decision. Less stress, more availability, better results.
- You can mix serious ballet and acoustic music in a church with incredible results.
Personally, I learned a few things as well.
- It's very cool to play limited amounts of notes. The less I played, the more I heard and felt the music. I had to adapt my style and it was harder than I expected - but it made for much better music.
- Certain songs humble you. I had the privilege of delivering the message of Labor of Love, and each time I sang it, I became less. I was no match for the beauty of the song. Certain works have had that impact on me; a Bach invention, the second movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata...but rare is the contemporary song in a contemporary church that has the same weight.
- Art - good music, inspired dancing - is sufficient unto itself. It stands alone. However, in our setting, art inspired and infused with spirit - the spirit of God, invoked in our preparation and even in the creation of the music a decade ago - is a completely different, living matter. Behold the Lamb was entertaining, inspiring, beautiful - a good way to invest an hour for anyone. But beyond that, lives were changed. Lives were changed because of the experience created by the fusion of music and movement. Internally and externally, some people were irrevocably changed. That is a remarkable thing, an unexpected miracle, a great privilege.
It wasn't a perfect performance. Notes were dropped, lines were skipped, technical gremlins ran loose. But we inhabited the music, whether we ran tech, sang, played, danced or acted. It was an act of grace, a song of praise.
And Someone inhabited that. And thus arrived the Christmas Spirit.
I would love to read your comments in the space below, if you were impacted in any way by "Behold the Lamb". It helps us in our evaluation and gives us valuable perspective. Plus, if you liked it, it's just cool to share the love. :-)
|Dancers from Stavna Ballet. They. Were. Amazing.|
|Travis in rehearsal. He's an amazing musician. He's also my daughter's significant other. Epic win.|
|Walter, speaking. I didn't plan on him playing this role...until I heard him recite the entire introduction. He was prepared....|
|Matthew, as the dancers entered...preparing for beauty.|
|John, absolutely brilliant on cello. The final note on "Deliver Us" resonated through my soul.|
|More Matthew. We love Matthew.|
|One of my favorite photos; see the intensity?|
|Surprise. More Matthew. Did I mention that we love this guy?|
|Carlisle, who played beautifully with his daughter Paige on "O Come O Come".|
|Yeah...there he is again...|
|The end of "Deliver Us", with Andy voicing the part of God.|
|We were so proud of Paige! Great trio.|
|Father and daughter - magic.|
|I imagine that Paige will never forget her performance. It's a privilege to know that we will be part of her musical memories.|