David Vale. May 17, 2023
I remember when being on TV or in the movies was really exciting. The thrill of seeing myself on one of Uncle Ted’s Super-8 home movies. Or being introduced as a member of the studio audience on Heck Harper’s Cartoon Corral. For fifteen seconds, I was a star!
Now you’ve got the DVD of our recent concert. There you are, almost big as life, and you’re a star. For fifteen seconds.
But, once you get past the thrill of stardom, there’s valuable information in that video. Professional sports players watch videos of themselves. It’s not out of narcissism. It’s because those videos show them what they’ve done, right and wrong, and give them information they can use to get better. We can take their lead.
What’s to be seen on the DVD? How about the stage setting? Were we arranged properly to highlight the most important part of the concert: The choir? How about our positions? Were we neatly positioned on the risers or scattered haphazardly across them? Were we watching the director? Or were our faces buried in our music? And our faces. Did they display all the joy we felt as we were making this magnificent sound? And how magnificent was the sound? Was it balanced? Did the instruments enhance the voices or overwhelm them? And those resonant bases! Could you hear them or were they drowned by the sopranos?
Okay, why do we have to be so danged critical? Can’t we just enjoy the video for what it is? Well, yes it is enjoyable. And, if we stop there, the next one will be just as enjoyable. But no more so.
Aha! There’s the rub. If we complacently sit on our laurels and content ourselves with enjoying what was a clearly enjoyable concert, we won’t get any better.
Do we need to get better? Maybe not, but then we don’t need to give concerts at all. Not to pick on a group that I was once familiar with, but there’s the case of the OK Chorale. It was a chorus that got together just for the joy of singing. There was no plan to perform. Or even a desire to get good. Were they any good? Not really, but that was OK. It’s who they were.
Is that who we are? I don’t think so. I think we’re better than OK, but I hope we’d like to get even better. Clearly better than good.
So watch the video with that in mind. What did we do right? What did we do wrong? What did you do right? What did you do wrong? What did you do that, having seen it on video, you’re never going to do again? Hey, I’ve done things in all three categories. Some I wish I hadn’t seen, but next time I won’t. Constantly improving: That’s what it’s all about!