The Christmas concerts are behind us. The two “A Carol of Joy” shows were crazy successful no matter how you measure it. So let’s measure it, shall we? You can look at the nuts-and-bolts pieces:
- More than 740 people attended (and that despite the other shows out there on Friday night – Willie Nelson, multiple high schools, the list is long and that doesn’t even take into account the folks who never made it because of the accident on H1).
- A new high in donations were received when we passed the hat (so far, there are envelopes still arriving).
- We made donations to our hosts that were unexpected and appreciated.
And the not-so-quantifiable-but-awesome pieces:
- All those little noises that happened between the end of a song and the beginning of the applause. I was paying attention and they were many and varied. There was a drawn-out “Woooow” for “Carol of Joy”, a “Yeah!” after “Salmo 150”, a “Whoo!” after “Gaudete” and the deafening silence after “Silent Night”. And a lot more; people were genuinely moved.
- The Marine Forces Pacific Band Woodwind Quintet was off the charts talented and the perfect counterpoint to the choral singing. And yes, we all fell in love with the flute player. Again. (Just admit it, you know I’m right.)
- The energy started building as we strolled in singing and peaked as the last phrase of “O Come All Ye Faithful” boomed out with the organ and it just never seemed to go away. It rose with the crankin’ pieces and smoothed with the gentle ones but we never lost hold of the audience. They got to catch their breaths after the quintet played but then it all wound itself right back up when they sang along with “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”.
- The audience’s transition from “Say what…?” to “That’s awesome!” during the unexpected pieces was great to watch as we performed. “Hine Ma Tov” turned into a barn-burner and the jazz version of “Carol of the Bells” did the same. I had a friend who’s seen all of our shows come up to me after the show and start the conversation by yelling, “What was THAT?!” and then gushed about the how we made the jazz work so well.
There’s also that undefinable something that just seems to flow out of this chorus that is unique. Whether it’s seeing young ladies (in their 70’s and 80’s) bouncing as they sing in Hebrew or the unconscious swaying that happens during “’O ‘Oe ‘Io”, there’s a little extra going on. Actually, I think I can define it. It’s a level of commitment that’s rare. Everyone is all-in on every piece. And how does that happen? Simple: Susie has made sure that we understand what every song really means and we deliver that meaning to the audience. Instead of just singing words and notes we know that we’re sending a message and nobody is shy or self-conscious about it; that commitment makes it roll in a way you just don’t see every day.
Of course, how could we be self-conscious about singing ANYTHING when we compare it to all the goofy silliness that we do at the beginning of our rehearsals…
See you in January!