Monday, November 06, 2006

The Elves and the Shoemaker

God exults in creation. Give voice to this.

I read that religion is a pernicious practice that is ultimately bad for the mammals. I dispute that. It seems to me that anything that brings them together in hope and joy as fellows is ultimately good where it is not a means to suborn their spirit to some other cause. The small country church is often the center of a community, the place where they come to raise their families, try to set good examples and find in fellowship relief from the torrid political climate of work and economy. I’ve never worked at a job that gave as much cheer or wonder as I find at the church and I am not exactly a devoutly formal worshipper of any faith. I like the company and I like the way they handle themselves in that setting. That’s all I need to know about it.

Last weekend the children performed “The Elves and The Shoemaker” at church. Even small country churches build community halls with stages any civic center would be proud of these days. Where city facilities would be too expensive and sometimes too dangerous given their locations in city centers for keeping and corralling 30+ small ones in full dudgeon, these church centers are better secured, adjacent to the sanctuary and kitchens, so safe. When working with children, safe is a major consideration.

I was asked to write and record the music for the show. Most of the time my music is composed for myself or my band of the moment to perform, so when it is performed, I am inside that performance. It is a different experience to sit anonymously at the back of a theatre and watch others perform my composition or act their roles while it provides the emotional space within which they perform. I quite like it. Children don’t know when something is hard. They only know if it makes them feel good. When the tiny 14 year old soprano was given a piece written in 5/4 time that my professional trained soprano friends gasp at, she just stepped out and did it beautifully. When the ballerinas spun on stage to the short ragtime, they were amazingly funny and precise. As all the smaller children who were the elves tittered through the shoemaker song, “shoes made by elves are REAL NEAT”, I realized this experience is an infinitesimal glimpse of what it must be to be the creator of a universe, to create an emotional space within which others can feel and share their feelings. That joy is inexpressible.

God exults in creation. Give voice to this.

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