Saturday, June 12, 2010

Magical Moment 128, "Back Stage"

Last night, I drove over the George Washington Bridge, sipping hot water and warming up my voice with vocal exercises learned from high school choir class. I was on my way to Clark Theatre at Lincoln Center in Manhattan to perform in a benefit concert for the World Mission Foundation. It’s been a while since I’ve performed on a stage in front of an audience. Parties, restaurants, and bars are a completely different venue. People are having conversations with one another and are generally occupied with something other than giving their full attention to the musician providing background music. I am free to make mistakes, forget lyrics, and play wrong chords in those instances. But not for a performance. A stage requires perfection. A mistake is seen by hundreds of eyes.

In my incessant over preparation, my voice became hoarse the morning of, leaving me to exhaust every home-remedy for sore throat relief I could imagine. When I arrived at the theatre, I was first shown to the dressing room, complete with mirrors and lights. The stage was all black, displaying only microphone stands and a black grand piano. I spent several hours back stage, getting ready and speaking to the other performers. We were all amateurs, nervous about our spotlight moments, except for one performer, Ricardo Molfa. He has toured the world with his classical, Spanish guitar, gracing stages with entertainers such as Gloria Estefan.

His smiling face and relaxed demeanor showed no trace of anxiousness. While myself and others waited in the stage wings jittering with anticipation, he remained carefree in the dressing room, having an impromptu jam session with his musical partner.

I went back to the dressing room to reapply lip-gloss and grab some more water. As soon as I entered the room, I knew I had walked in on something special. The two guitarists were harmonizing and picking their strings with such exquisite talent and love for their music, that I immediately picked up my camera. As I held it up, Ricardo grinned at me. I quickly switched the setting from camera mode, to video mode and when I made a “keep it going” gesture with my hand, he smiled again and gave me about 2 minutes of uninterrupted magic.

Last night was a wonderful night, one that made me really think about the beauty and various aspects of performing. I concentrate so hard on perfecting what I know others will see in the spotlight and on stage. But sometimes they see without us meaning to. Back stage is where some moments can be truly inspirational and unbelievable. I hope you enjoy this clip.