"Oh, I think I enjoy it more than the kids do!" I say, with a wink.
My sister, Julianna, has always been the more "outgoing" with her musical prowess between the two of us. Which is absolutely ridiculous, because I'm quite certain that I like music more than she does! But nevertheless (alwaysthemore), she's the one who's played at Nordstrom, taught uncountable lessons to malleable youths, and accompanied the local homeschool choir (the King's Kids)... while I was the one sitting at home, paying out the nose for piano lessons and yet never practicing, and only performing once a year at student recitals. Last spring, Julianna decided to step down from her choir-accompanist role in order to pursue... hmm... Joshua Spurlock*. I jokingly said, "Oh, why don't you tell the director that I'll fill in for you!" Hee hee. Pete, who works 8 to 5 and spends his lunch break reading G.K. Chesterton; yeah, tell the director he'll accompany the 60-member choir in the fall! What a hoot.
Well, I was half-joking, and as a good friend would remind me, that means I was half-not-joking. See, I was half-joking in that I've all-my-life been a solo pianist. It is literally laughable to think I'd watch the director for the tempo, let alone play quietly enough for the audience to hear the choir. And I was half-not-joking in that I secretly would have loved the chance to play for someone besides myself. How lonely it gets, living inside one's own head.
So the director said "Absolutely!", and I've been playing for the King's Kids ever since! Julianna left huge shoes to fill. Not that she has big feet or anything. She has really tiny feet. But big shoes.
It's nearly indescribable, playing for these children. Each one of them has their own little personality, not completely developed, yet not completely undeveloped; their minds scurrying around the room while their bodies sing soprano. Some of them are young and wishing to be older, some of them are older and wishing to be still older; none of them are old enough to wish they were younger. Some of them have too many friends to focus on the rehearsal; some of them have too few friends to focus on the rehearsal. All of them, with their unique attitude and expressions, hopelessly juggling peer-approval with director-approval. Those few girls in the back who all wish they were each other; those few boys in the front who all wish they were me; that lonely girl in the middle who doesn't sing if you're watching; the louder girl on the end who only sings because you're watching. And I just get to sit there and play the piano?! Witnessing the infinitesimal maturing of five dozen children? While playing the most beautiful instrument ever invented? Ok. Not gonna turn that one down.
There's something about being loved for doing something you love to do. I was thinking about it this evening- how it's so frustrating that no one appreciates my "original music" as much as I do. I don't say that to sound arrogant or anything. My family and friends (fans?) really like my music, but no one really gets my music. That's the reason I write these posts, you see. Because if you could just get a hint of what's happening inside this noggin, the music would start to sound so eerily poignant; so relevant; you'd realize that I'm only telling stories in a different language.
* Nooo, I'm kidding of course. Julianna doesn't pursue men. She just realized that she was focusing so much on those children and she wasn't even married yet! And marriage should always come before children.
Hehe. Joke. But not really.
P.S. - the new album has been mastered and we're just putting the finishing touches on the album art. So close I can almost taste... er, hear it! :)