For 12 years I had the privilege of working as a church musician for Father Bill Weiss. Apart from his 45 minute masses (I loved that) and his boundless support and appreciation for what our music team was doing, I also loved the fact that every week of the year, he was able to preach on the Gospel in such a way that the ultimate message was always “Be kind, be nice.”
Most of us have plenty to stress us out right now – our finances, difficult situations at work, our family’s well being and of course shale gas companies from the United Arab Emirates having been sneakily given the lease to search a couple of lots up the road….
So when choir members show up to rehearsal on a week night, what they really need and want is a vacation. Me too. As the director I do everything in my power to nip high drama in the bud. I want to have fun – and what my groups and I are experiencing is that there’s nothing more fun than excellence.
In the early years I used to have snits. I just thought that was the most effective way to run a rehearsal. However, I found this so exhausting that I forced myself to examine what was really going on – and recalling Werner Erhard’s words (“Ever notice when stuff goes wrong in your life, YOU’RE always around?”) I realized that I could be doing something better. I discovered that Director Snits are only an expression of frustration – not knowing how to fix the problem. I don’t know everything yet, but I know much much more than I did in the epoch of the snit. That’s one of the reasons that I write this blog. I’d love to think that choir practices all over the world could be more fun.
So what’s Goodness and Niceness? Understanding that everyone is dealing with some sort of serious stuff. Understanding that when we cut people some slack, and then apply every Magic Choral Trick we know, rehearsals can be a vacation and exhilarating and rejuvenating and miraculous.