Concert

Concert: (n) a musical performance given in public

At a very early age I convinced myself I could sing. Growing up in a small village, there was not much competition–and since I was willing to intone and offer my voice as a possibility, folks around my community had no reason to doubt my prowess.

So when I graduated from high school, rather than heading off to college and finding out if anyone outside of Delaware County thought I funny wisdom on words that begin with a C
could sing, I put together a music group, started writing some of my own songs and planned concerts.

I immediately learned the difficulty in concert promotion.

  1. Just because you think you can sing does not mean anybody wants to hear you.
  2. And if you can convince them to come to your concert, it may require that you offer some other stimulus, like refreshments. Or prizes.
  3. If anything else comes up before the concert, or even on concert day, which is more alluring, chances are that promise to attend, even by your friends, is quickly forsaken.
  4. People’s patience in hearing you sing is based upon how well you can take them to a happier (or sad) place and make them glad they went there.
  5. Just because you can sing doesn’t mean anybody wants to buy a recording of you doing it, so they can play it in their free time.

These were tough lessons.

So ferocious was my training during this period that I often found it difficult to supply food for my family and was only able to lodge as long as I could dodge coming face-to-face with the landlord.

It was actually many years before anyone, of their own volition, walked up to me and said, “Hey! When’s your next concert?”

I froze the moment in my mind… and replay it frequently.

 

Donate Button


Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories 'Til Christmas

(click the elephant to see what he’s reading!)


Subscribe to Jonathan’s Weekly Podcast

Good News and Better News

 

Advertisements

A cappella

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

A cappella: (adj. or adv.) {with regard to choral music} without instrumental accompaniment.

I was sixteen years old and had a musical group. We thought we were great, which is the necessary profile to maintaining the immaturity of being sixteen years of age. We had recently won a talent contest at our school, so we were over-pumped with our abilities and found other people’s instruction repugnant.

A gentleman asked us if we would like to record the song we had sung at the talent contest for his local radio station, to be played the following Sunday for the vast “tens of listeners” tuning in.

Of course, we agreed, fully aware of how fortunate this man was to have such a talented group of young people coming in to his little station to share their unique abilities. We arrived at the studio and found that there was no piano. We required one, so it seemed like we were stumped, with no recourse. The radio station owner ran from the room and quickly returned, holding in his hand–a pitch-pipe.

He said, “Why don’t you sing it a cappella, and I’ll give you the note to start on, and we can record it?”

Well, we had never sung our song without accompaniment, but after all, being the best singers in Delaware County, it seemed like something we could take in stride and accomplish with no difficulty whatsoever.

So he blew a C on his pitch-pipe and we began to sing, as he recorded. We struggled a bit. None of us realized how dependent we were on the strands flowing from the keyboard for our sense of self-confidence. Yet we persevered.

When we reached the end of the song, I looked over and noticed that our recording engineer had a grimace on his face. He paused and said, “Would you like to try that again?”

Fully inflated with arrogance, I replied, “Why? It sounded good to me.”

So he blew the pitch-pipe and played back the last note we sang, and explained that we had fallen a full tone in the process of singing our song. Still fueled with immaturity and impudence, I said, “What difference does it make–as long as we ended up together?”

I added, “Perhaps your pitch-pipe is broken.”

This last assertion was quickly disproven when he played back the entire recording and it became obvious where we lost our way. Yet because we were young, impetuous and just damned lazy, we refused to record it again, insisting that “it sounded fine.”

Faithful to his word, he played our a cappella version the following Sunday morning on the radio, and amazingly enough, no one commented to us about it–good or bad.

That was the day that I gained great respect for singing a cappella–and also for the value of honoring the pitch.

In all facets of life, if you don’t stay in key, you will end up with a whole lot of sour notes.