Have you ever witnessed a singer blunder while performing or drawing people in to praise and worship or maybe during an entertainment session? When this happens, the crowd gets disappointed, might jeer at the singer, or just get completely turned off. – Oh the fate of the singer – so near, so easily vanishes in the error within a few lines.
The other night I struggled, my voice cracked, my ability to key a song was difficult, and the musicians who would usually support me were absent. Amidst the praise and worship session, I found myself stopping in the middle of a song, totally embarrassed.
I thought to myself, what are they (the congregation) thinking now? Some kept on singing, others smiled and others stared at me. Undoubtedly, sometimes those stares are hard and can unnerve me – if but for a moment.
When such situations occur, the audience’s / congregation’s puzzled look can also force you to hustle the presentation. In the case of a praise and worship session, one has to complete the task at hand. After all, you cannot leave the people hanging in mid-air. So you complete the task and you return to your seat, sulk away or just brush it off and hope to do better next time.
That evening, I pondered deeply about how easily it is for a singer to be jeered at for a single error. Some audiences can be so very tough and unforgiving. At church, the element of sympathy is expected, but may not always be manifested – or if it does, it may not necessarily be immediate at that moment when the singer actually needs it.
Is it easy to stand before a crowd of hundreds or for that matter even thousands of people, and sing knowing sometimes your voice can crack or you can start the song too high or too low? For singers out there, we all know this is always a challenge. Still we return to the visual firing squad to deliver within the world of vocal and audible uncertainty. Do we have a choice? Probably the only other choice would be to quit singing completely. The latter might actually be more painful; since it would be like losing a limb to the ardent singer.
Have you ever thought about how you would relate or actually have reacted in a situation like this as a member of the crowd? Do you empathize with the performer, or join the “boos” that are hurled at him or her? We do not have to look to far. Just think about those carnival shows (pageants, calypso, etc). Oh sometimes, those audiences are really heartless, especially when the performer in question is not their favorite? Any error would please the opponent.
I suppose the point I am getting at, is that we can often offer a more caring disposition to those who brave the discomfort of leaving their seats to assist us in entertainment, education, or any other public service. The public figure in what ever capacity shows inner strength with the ability to defy fears, doubts, insecurities and even the hard-eyes that seek to scare and or obtrusively intimidate them. They demonstrate confidence even while fighting nerves, and display determination against all odds.
Going forward, I would like to suggest that we offer those who serve us in the public sphere, some encouragement and emotional support overall, but especially when they falter. Service is painful, and energy draining. Granted, the public figures also must prepare, practice and exercise discipline to get better at their craft as well.
I wonder whether you share this perspective. Are you more the audience than the performer or public figure? Sometimes I am both, but mainly, I find myself in the public’s eyes, often more than I desire. Feel free to express what you think about this with me.