Well, I’m sort of not, or rather I wouldn’t have, if the next morning I hadn’t listened to a video clip. One of the notes I was singing in the clip was under pitch. It was a note that I knew had a tendency to go flat, and I didn’t pay close enough attention and the damn thing fell all out of tune.
So the morning after one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, after receiving countless compliments and feeling great pride and having my Attention-Craving-Extrovert meter go way past eleven, I spent hours obsessing over one funny note.
The moral of the story is singers are crazy, and in a way everyone is crazy because we blast ourselves over tiny flaws even when the big picture is very beautiful. At least, I thought that was the moral of the story, but if it were, I wouldn’t be writing about it now, because that’s an old stupid story and no one needs me to retell it.
Instead this is the story I have to tell:
Many wise musicians before me have advised that one should not worry about individual notes or flubs if the overall effect is musical. I try to take that to heart. What happened on Saturday at Fenway Park was certainly musical, and I take pride in that.
But the pride isn’t mine alone. What we did at liturgy was musical not because the brass was in tune or the levels on the mics were set right or because I was properly warmed up. It was musical because everyone was working together: bishops and priests and young singers and faculty Eucharistic Ministers and all those assembled.
It is very rare that I make music all by myself. It is very rare that I accomplish anything of value by myself. I make music when the Spirit swirls my gifts together with everyone else’s, and our love and commitment and beauty become something new in a certain place and time. So it doesn’t matter what I do, it matters what we do. And we made music last weekend.