Thursday, August 16, 2012

Supper and a Song

Remember that scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" when George and Mary are dancing the Charleston at the high school dance? A crowd clears a space around them while they are dancing and cheers. George looks at Mary and says, "They're cheering us. We must be good!" What George and Mary don't see is that while they are dancing, the floor over the swimming pool is opening, and each time the crowd cheers it's because George and Mary narrowly miss falling in the pool.

A couple of months ago, Reese was asked by someone at church if he would perform for a new event they were trying called Supper and a Song. He replied by saying something to the effect that Sarah plays the ukulele and we'd love to play a few songs. Playing music is one of our favorite things we do together. Even though we've gone busking, normally we just sit in the comfort of our living room with the captive audience of whoever happens to have been invited over for the night.

Reese and I picked three of our favorite songs to perform and amped up the practice. We play these songs ALL the time and in the comfort of our living room, dare I say it, we sound pretty good.

There was a time back in the day when I was a little better than adequate as a singer. In junior high and high school I was in several choirs, and can still remember (and sing) the alto harmony for several 70's era pop songs. Those days are long gone. Reese, on the other hand, has a beautiful voice. When he sings, he gets frequent and regular compliments.

As Reese and I were practicing for the Supper and a Song performance, he would look over at me, smile and say, "Sing, Sarah!" I'd mumble sing, content to let him shine, for he really does have a lovely singing voice. When we got to church for rehearsal 30 minutes before show time, it was the first time I had heard myself mic'd. Perfectly content to stand beside Reese and play, I was completely unprepared for the sound of my voice booming back to me over a PA system. To say I was mortified is an understatement. Reese sweetly whispered to me that if I didn't sing, he was going to announce to the audience that I sing along with him. When I complained to Lance the head sound guy, he told me that he asked Chris the secondary sound guy to turn up my mic on purpose. What? Now, the Amazing Reese loves me. I know that. But why on earth did he insist that I sing along with him when he knows what I sound like? And why did Lance have Chris turn up my mic? It's a conspiracy, I tell you.

To both Reese's and my absolute delight, the first act performed while the crowd was talking and eating. This was great! If we could be background performers with hardly anyone paying attention, all the better. This might not be so bad after all.

After a short intermission, a 16 year old young lady named Grace (even her name is pretty) walked on stage, sat behind a grand piano, started singing and playing her original compositions. She was incredible - beautiful face, beautiful voice, and beautiful spirit. It was so lovely. Wouldn't you know it? The crowd settled in and actually started paying attention. Reese and I were up next.

First of all, whoever put us on after Grace, well, our style couldn't be any more opposite. As Reese aptly explained to the gathered crowd (250 people!), Grace's performance was Jones Hall champagne worthy. The best they were going to get out of us was beer at the Alabama Ice House. We performed  three songs - We're Going to be Friends by the White Stripes,  You've Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story, and That's Amore.  Somehow, it's all a blur, we fumbled through and made it back to our seats. The audience applauded, but I figured they were just being polite - not that there's anything wrong with that! We could all use a little more politeness and courtesy in this world. We had just settled in back at our table (I was trying to make myself smaller and dying a little bit on the inside) when there was a tap on my shoulder.  Turning around, a bouquet of flowers was presented to me by Sam, the dearest of friends. If kindness can slap someone in the face, this is how to do it. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Thank you, Sam (and Mary!)

In the early part of this week, I thought of how unprofessional and goofy we must have seemed, especially when compared to the other, more polished performers that night. (Why, oh why am I comparing us to others? That's never a good thing.) Then yesterday, we actually received a very sweet thank you note (our first fan mail!) for just being who we are - Alabama Ice House kind of people. My head still thinks that any accolades are probably (maybe, maybe not) because we were dancing so close to the edge of the pool, then fell in backwards. But in my heart, like George Bailey, I prefer to think, "They're cheering us. We must be good!" So all in all, in spite of nervousness and (lots of) mistakes, we sure did have fun. *shrugs shoulders* Come on in! The water's fine.


Margaret Simon said...

I love this story. Your sense of humor and humility make for a wonderfully entertaining combination. I am cheering on your good writing, and, no, there is no pool close by.

Sarah Hazel said...

Aw, thanks Margaret. Cute. That means a lot coming from a published author like yourself.

Lisa S said...

Sarah, you and Reese were great! Me and my companions at our table really enjoyed your songs. We giggled with delight at the Toy Story song. You were different, yes, but absolutely delightful.

Sarah Hazel said...

Thank you so much for letting me know! I'm surprised at that, but delighted.