Quiet right. Nobody does it better than me. Getting lost, that is. All I had to do was get from home to the Calloway Music Auditorium at UWA. Talk about mission impossible. Because all it takes is one wrong turn and then I'm done. I’m lost. Never to been seen again (until I stumble across civilisation again).To sum up I spent around 40 minutes driving around, passing through the CBD twice (I know, I don't even know how you do that but I did it. And not for the first time either), surprising clumps of cyclists (and not in a good way) and generally proving why WA motorists are so notorious. Eventually I did find UWA but then I had to find the auditorium. Cue more cursing and dodgy manoeuvres. My only consolation was on the way out I was stopped in the car park by a woman after directions (poor thing, that many people in proximity and I was the closest and the one she asked) who had been driving around for half an hour trying to find the venue. So I'm not the only numpty (but I am the biggest one. I highly doubt anyone took the whistle stop city tour. Twice).
On the plus side everything went fine (after I managed to find everyone else. Which was some kind of miracle). As we had competed in the Nationals earlier this year, we were simply participating in the festival section. It's amazing how this simple fact made everything so much more relaxed. There was none of the usual anxiety. There were the standard jokes with the usual laughter in the warm up room but the laughter was genuine, without the underlying edge that suggests at covering nerves. Instead of worrying about any errors we could make and how they would impact on the overall score, we could simply sit back (though not too far back) and enjoy the music and what we were contributing.
After a bit of warming up, a few run throughs (including a few sing alongs. Always amusing when we sing our parts as opposed to actually playing them. And it's always heartening to hear people approach their parts with the same gusto. Sometimes even more) we found ourselves out on stage, face to face with our audience (which is daunting when you can actually see them. Until of course they start looking like they are enjoying it and not like they've been pushed into a medieval torture room). In what felt like no time at all we had flown through Florentiner March, Three Extraordinary Journeys and Themes from 007. All were very well received. If your audience has enjoyed it, you've done good.
I always find there's a point within a performance where you forget all about the technicalities of what you're doing. When you're not concentrating on your pitch, breathing, dynamics, tuning and so on. That's not to say you've completely checked out or you no longer care about what's going on. You've just reached that point where the combined sound reverberates right through you and you're no longer just playing, you're actually part of the music. You feel it, physically and emotionally. That's why you practice and perform. For that moment (though there's something to be said for the sound of applause for a job well done).
In my (completely biased) opinion that's something we do very well. Creating something that we can get swept away in. Sure, there are people that do it better but they don't do it the way we do it (for one, I'm sure there are far less juvenile jokes. At any rate, I'm going to continue labouring under that illusion). And to see (and hear) exactly how we do this, our 30th Anniversary concert is coming up on the 1st July. That's right, 30 years of music, mayhem and madness (not in that order). Though not the actual theme of the concert, it is disturbingly close to the truth.
And that's a snippet of what we do. I guess it's up to you to decide if nobody does it better.