The joy of making music

This weekend I spent some much needed time with friends at the Flatwater Music Festival in Hastings. Three years ago I stumbled upon this festival when I saw a flier advertising it at the Back Alley Bakery (quite possibly the best bakery in central Nebraska). For two years I attended as a festival goer, enjoying the music and local artists. This year was different because the band I used to sing in when we lived in Ogallala got a chance to open up the festival and play on Friday night. 

I've always had a bad case of stage fright that comes out in my singing with a trembly vibrato and flat notes. It's been almost a year since we all played together, so it took me quite a while to work through my nerves. Our sound check a few hours before was shaky at best. I had lugged my guitar along but left it in the car because I was so nervous that I didn't think I could play and sing at the same time. I wasn't even sure I could make any sort of sensible notes come out of my mouth (especially considering how terrible I sounded during our sound check). After the sound check, I was convinced that our performance would be a flop. I had visions of tripping over mic cords and falling into banjos. The worst-case scenarios continued to build in my mind as the clock ticked closer to performance time. While we waited to take stage, we continued to play through our set list, pausing here and there to joke around. About a half hour before we went on stage, I suddenly realized I was with a few of my best friends doing something I love: making music. I've spent a lot of my life worrying and stressing about being absolutely perfect that I've missed opportunities to just enjoy moments. I didn't want this moment to be stolen by worry. It took a lot of inner-head talk, but before we went on stage, I vowed to just have fun and enjoy the time I had with my friends. And 'ya know what? It worked. I've been performing in different capacities for many years, but this is probably first time I've really enjoyed myself.

On the drive home I was coming off of a serious music high. I couldn't help but think back through all the great memories I have: high school choir concerts (Celeste, Hannah, and Autumn--remember our last concert and what we "wore" beneath our choir robes?!), directing musicals with my husband, dancing with my niece Alexis on the deck at my mother in-law's house to Old Crow Medicine Show, falling in love with a clean-cut guy in a pink tie across the room my first day of college choir (that was Nate in case you were wondering!), playing and singing on a street corner in Norfolk with my high school friend Jon, sitting around Bob and Shannon's kitchen table drinking wine and singing...the list of great memories involving music in my life feels endless. All of my closest friendships are with musicians. I wish I could express this in a more eloquent manner; there's just something about making music with people that forges a unique and deep bond. Music has a way of connecting people and forging communities.

I'll end with a few photos from the weekend for your viewing pleasure--
During our performance as we waited for our guest clogger to come join us for a song
On Saturday we played for a group of senior citizens at an assisted living facility in Hastings; they were the best crowd!
We made the front page of the Hastings newspaper!

1 comment:

Bob Josjor said...

What can I add to that? "Amen" is about all that comes to mind. Wish you could have stayed the extra day, but glad you went home to sing "I'll Fly Away" with someone special.