Monday, November 22, 2010

On a Wing and a Prayer

Sunday, 21 November 2010. The day arrived carrying with it both panic and relief, with a hint of suspense. Outside, the air was cool and crisp but the sun shone brightly. Inside the Centre culturel et communautaire du Coeur-Immaculé, the Salle du Parvis was abuzz as people gathered on the last day of the 16e éditions d’Arts Fleurimont.

For weeks I prepared for the first public performance of my musical compositions, which was scheduled to take place during this annual celebration of the arts. I would rush home at lunch, inhale my food and then sit down at the piano. After work I’d again hurry home to put in more time at the piano. The preparation for the concert moved along smoothly until …

At the beginning of the month I caught what seemed like an itsy-bitsy cold. Runny nose, sore throat, headache. It lasted only a couple of days but what lingered, and lingered, was the tickle in my throat. As last Sunday approached, I was beginning to panic. Already nervous about playing my own musical compositions before an indiscriminate public, and still holding on to old doubts about my own musical talent, how would it look if I opened my mouth to sing and nothing happened?

On Sunday morning, as I sat down at the piano one least time before I was to take to the stage that afternoon, I was convinced that my performance would be, at best, mediocre. My throat was not its best, and I struggled to get through two songs. I felt discouraged. It wasn’t just the fact that I was going to sound awful that bothered me, but that I was also going to sound awful singing in French (my second language; and my accent, often described as “charming,” wasn’t going to save the day) and that with my unstable voice I would sound like an amateur, unpolished. That there I was, taking a risk – having the courage to step outside my comfort zone – and I was about to fall flat on my face.

I had butterflies in my stomach right up until the moment that I took to the stage. And when I opened my mouth to sing, you would never have guessed that there was even an “issue” with my throat. I sang each song with the same level of passion that compelled me to write them in the first place. I sang from, and with, my heart to the person who makes me laugh, gives me hope, lifts me up when I fall down.

There is beauty and grace in doing the things we love to do. Yesterday, as I took to the stage, I stepped out on faith. I held steadfast to the belief that everything would be all right. And it was.

1 comment:

  1. As I read this I could see and hear you sing again, Marcus. As beautiful as the day you sang at my wedding. -Norma Ranieri