Monday, April 23, 2012

More Rewards

Do you remember a post a few days ago when I talked about "willing semi-competence" and implied that the warm glow of beneficence was the only reward we volunteers can count on?

That would be a wrong implication.

Yesterday I accompanied a community chorus of 30 singers or so in a Rodgers and Hammerstein tribute, and folks, this group puts the "mixed" in "mixed chorus." The youngest member is in her 20s; the oldest is in his 80s. A couple are music teachers and others are almost-professional quality, but some don't read music. They met every Monday night since January, belting out "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'!" and "Bali Hai," and the old favorites that made R&H the old favorites.

I was at my spectacularly mediocre best for the performance, which is to say that I followed the group gamely when they skipped measures or double-counted the rests, but that I botched the piano interlude in "Climb Every Mountain." Again. Dang it.

But even though I cringed when I missed the interlude's cursed and oh-so-exposed leaps from the bottom to the top of the keyboard, I was smiling. Before the program started, one of the ladies had pinned a corsage on me and thanked me for playing. Every single member of the choir had made a point to thank me for making the trip to Neighbor Small Town for rehearsals, and acted as if my frequent flubs and missed accidentals were merely Rachmaninoff clearing his throat.

When the final note of the concert sounded ("OKLAHOMA--Okay---yah!") the audience applauded, then stood, and we walked off the stage in a rosy glow of acclamation. I followed one of the women who doesn't read music but nevertheless had sung a solo.

"So how much fun was that?" I whispered to her as we crossed behind the curtains.

She looked back at me, cheeks flushed and eyes bright.

"That?" she said, "was wicked fun."

And that, right there, is the best reward.

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