Thursday, December 01, 2005

Clap Yo HANDS!

I like applause. And I admit it.

I mean the literal applause you get when on stage after a good performance. Where people erupt in spontaneous appreciation of what you just gave them. That is top shelf stuff.

This wasn't really something I knew about myself always - at least not in those terms. I just liked being on stage, as long as I was confident I was about to put out a good performance. Which I usually did, except in the case of not having learned my lines well in a play or not having my piano piece sufficiently memorized. THAT is torture! But with flute playing I was nearly always confident and I thought I simply liked the performance aspect of it. I liked sharing my interpretation of music with an appreciative audience.

A few years ago I found out, after being away from any performing for quite some time, that it is at least in part the applause that gets me high. My church asked me to play for an international Christmas thing they did one year. It was terrific. The church I went to was across the street from Michigan State University's campus and was a more diverse church than I've ever been in. So there were many people from all over the world who celebrate Christmas in different ways and who have talents for playing a variety of different instruments and styles of music. It was not your hokey missionary night at the church, this was truly an international treat. Anyway, I was the one playing Greensleeves on the flute. Pretty traditional fare - I actually thought nothing of it. I had picked a very cool arrangement and had a good accompanist so there were no worries. I was into the other performers, and I wasn't nervous because I've played that piece about a bazillion times and, well, I LIKE playing for people and sharing with them music that they enjoy.

So I played my piece. And it went fine. After I played there were a few seconds of silence as people just sat with the mood...I forgot about the whole clapping thing, so I was reaching for my music and turning to walk off the stage when this ROAR hit me right in the chest! I almost could feel it physically. I suddenly remembered that there were a few hundred people sitting out there, and that they were applauding enthusiastically, just as they had for all the musicians. Oh ya, I thought, and did my little bow/thank you thing and smiled and felt all surprised. Meanwhile, that little guy that lives inside me that loves stuff like that said "OH YA BABY! THAT's WHAT WE'RE Talking about! REMEMBER THAT!?! GIVE US SOME MORE OF THAT!! We LOVES that!"

Now, I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing. I'm just saying it was what happened. And it surprised me how much I liked it. I forgot about the high of having everyone think I was great for a few moments and loudly sharing that sentiment by banging their hands together.

Well last night I had a dream about this very thing. Of all things, I was walking along and I came across a room where a bunch of people were sitting. I don't remember the context, but they started applauding when I appeared in the doorway. Not really loudly, just clapping and smiling at me. I thought well, OK. I don't really get this but fine. This is nice. And I went on my way. Then I went back to see if they'd do it again, which they did. Same thing. Applause and smiles and appreciation. I was like, "COOL!" So I went away and came back only this time I did a little goofy dance and hammed it up a bit. They went wild, and stood up and clapped and hooted and whistled. It was GREAT! So I thought "I'm going to see how LOUD they can get!" So I did that thing football players do in the end zone after a touchdown and squatted down and lifted my hands up like I was lifting their applause. I kept doing this and they responded by ROARING with applause and noise. I was amazed. There couldn't have been more than 20 people but it sounded like 20 thousand!

So I kept this up, and they got louder and louder and I got so geeked I started clapping too and jumping up and down and hooting along with them. I turned around and joined them and we faced the sky and together we cheered like mad.

That has got to be one of the best dreams I've had in a very long time!


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