This has been a busy week.
We had practices on Wednesday and Thursday, in addition to our normal Friday night practice. This meant that it Lisa and I would head home from work, eat something for dinner and then turn around and drive off to practice. Lisa stayed home Thursday night and took care of some errands she had to run. We spent the afternoon and most of the evening Saturday at my parents house.
Sunday morning we went to Highland View (the church I grew up in) to hear my father preach the sermon for the Sunrise Service, which was from 6:45 to 7:30am. It's always a treat to get to hear my father preach and it is one that I only get maybe twice a year (if that). After that service, Lisa and I drove home and got ready for the nursing home. The "Hour of Power" started off with "Brother Joe" walking through the room and tripping over his walker, which he was carrying. He fell to the floor hard and fell on his right arm. We paused to allow the nurses and attendants see to him and then after they had helped him back to his room we continued with the service. It's a frightening moment to see an older person fall and hurt themselves and not be able to help them in any other way than to pray for them. The rest of the service went well.
Lisa and I made it to St. Alphonsus Rock by 1:30. After people left the building (the last service ran a bit late), several of the male cast members began setting up the chairs for the stage area while the women began anointing the temple. Setup went fairly smoothly and we were all back in the back dressing by 2:45. The preparation seemed to be going smoothly, with people helping each other dress while singing and reading scriptures. We then headed out for a brief sound check around 3:15.
There were a handful of people already present in the building for the performance at this time, but we needed to do the sound check so we pressed on. There seemed to be several members of the cast who were timid or weak in the vocals during this sound check and so Michael urged us to sing out louder. After struggling with the monitor levels and house volumes, we proceeded back to the dressing area. We immediately prayed over the performance and what appeared to be specific obstacles already in our way. We discussed how fear had no place within our performance, because God's perfect Love drives out all fear.
We began the performance promptly at 4pm, with a friendly reminder from Michael's mother aiding in our timely beginning. In this particular rendition, my song came third or fourth, just prior to "Rocky Road". I struggled with finding a balance between the incredibly hot mic and the annoyingly loud monitor that was directly in front of me. I couldn't move too far to either side because my role demanded that I interact with members on each side of me at certain points in the song. So I felt kind of trapped between the blaring monitor, the super-hot mic and my castmates. The mic squealed a couple of times briefly, but overall I felt like my performance was good.
It quickly became apparent that something was going on up in the sound booth when Amanda's song was suddenly not played. When James began his song a measure early it seemed a bit odd. He recovered to begin again, struggling to retain the correct words. As he began the transition to the chorus it became apparent that the song playing was not the edited version which we had been practicing. It startled him, which is totally understandable, and we tried to help him cover it as best we could. He gathered his composure and finished the song strong. It was at this point that we didn't know what song was going to be next. Faith's song was skipped and we went straight into Tony's "He Ain't No King".
At intermission we figured out that the sound man was playing the wrong CD. After verifying that he had the correct CD for Act II, we were ready to begin again. All of sudden, the Overture from Act I began playing. We quickly sent Esther Ruth to set the sound man straight, all the while wondering what was going on. We pressed on through the remainder of the performance and people seemed to enjoy it and receive the message of it.
I never felt like we hit "the groove" at any point of this performance. Usually, there will be moments during a particular song when everything sounds great and it truly seems effortless to sing a song. Sometimes this "groove" will last through several songs and this is when the performance is totally amazing. It's those moments that we have to reach consistently in order to perform this to the best of our abilities and allow God to receive the praise He deserves.
Unfortunately, at St. Alphonsus Rock there didn't seem to be any of these moments. Praise God that He can use us in spite of ourselves, but it makes a performance a lot more hard work and less fulfilling in a way. We have a lot of preparation to do before our next performance at Jubilee this Sunday, not to mention the upcoming performance in Rolla.