Following a path that looks more like chance than design but really is Divine Planning, I’m ready to pack up for my 3rd Hope Singers tour. And I don’t have words to say how excited I am.
Life is so simple on a choir tour. All you have to do is make sure you have your music folder and water bottle in hand at the right time. Everything else–bus time, conversations, exploring old towns, weather, picnics–is peripheral. But the peripheral things, the ones you don’t concentrate so much on, are what shapes the tour, and gives it meaning and delight.
My favourite story about Lloyd Kauffman, the conductor, happened after the first full program in Krakow in ’08. My part, 2nd alto, had a low note, I think it was a D, and I didn’t hit it. It was my favourite note in the song, and I felt bad for messing it up.
During the meal afterward, I was sitting across the corner from Lloyd. I told him I’m sorry I didn’t hit that note. He hears every note of every singer, so of course he knew which one I was talking about. He smiled big and put his hand on my shoulder and said, “You’re forgiven–be cleansed and free!”
His gentleness and grace inspired me to not fail the music and from there on, I could hit the note fine, and when it was especially fine, he’d give me this huge wink that made me feel light as air.
Lloyd is a master with music, and with people. He arranges the songs we sing, and knows how he wants them sung, but is gentle and gracious when we fail his plans. Hope ’08 had many significant moments, but that one exchange with Lloyd probably changed my life.
Because Christ’s love and redemption is the most powerful force in the world.To hand out grace in the face of failure is being as Christ. If that’s the only thing that happens during a choir tour, receiving God’s grace and extending it to others, it is enough.