I used to play a lot of golf before my back and my knees told me to stop, it’s not only a fun and challenging sport but it’s usually played in some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Good fun. One sunny Saturday my mentor and former PGA Tour pro joined me at Koo’lau Golf Club (jungle golf, absolutely stunning) and things just weren’t going his way. I beat him about once a millennium so I was having a grand time and, even though he was getting thumped, my friend was still enjoying the beauty of one of Hawaii’s great golf courses. (Full disclosure: he had to spot me a LOT of strokes.)
We had been paired up with a vacationing father and son to fill out our foursome and enjoyed our morning beneath the peaks of the Ko’olau range. Even though my companion wasn’t at his best, the 12-year son old was still amazed at the shots he made. He even got a couple tips along the way and had a blast playing with a former pro. There were smiles and handshakes when we finished and then, as we walked toward our cart and the lad went to pick something up on the other side of the green (meaning he was within earshot but his father was not), my partner remarked, “Well, that’s $12,000 I’ll never see again”. I saw our eavesdropper freeze and played along with a merry, “Maybe next time” and we were off to the parking lot. We weren’t far away when we heard an excited, “DAD! DAD!” and had a good yuck thinking of the story the son had to tell.
You gotta believe, given that he played with a real honest-to-gosh golf pro, that 12-year-old boy not only thought that round of golf was the coolest thing EVER but it also turned into a story he would tell over and over again (especially the part about the big bucks changing hands). Even though my partner was having a truly awful day on the golf course, the impression he left was one that was nothing but positive as he made the best of it, smiled his way through it and shared his love of the game with two perfect strangers.
When we stand up and sing to an audience we’re given the opportunity to do the same. I have no idea what the numbers might be but there’s always a percentage of any group of people that feels like crap. Whether it’s a touch of illness, lack of sleep, something sad in your life or the desire to introduce someone at the office to the spinning part of a weed whacker, some of us are just not having a good day (if that’s EVERY day you should go see someone about it). It affects everything in some way and can be pretty hard to shake.
The singing, however, needs to have it shaken to work its magic on the people who are listening. Try singing with a frown. Sounds bad. Sing the same notes with a smile. Sounds good. Even if the rest of your world isn’t firing on all cylinders (my golfing buddy’s putting that day looked like the ball was afraid of the dark), ignore it and sing with the joy of music. The audience deserves to believe that every singer is at their absolute best and the concert is at the peak of the choir’s game and you are a part of the collective that creates and delivers it.
I’d also bet that, when the last notes have faded away, you’ll find that you feel better (and the $12,000 is still in your bank account).