It Ain't Pretty, But It's Real.
If you would have asked me what tap shoes, a psaltery, a flute, a MIDI keyboard, a kazhoo, a hand drum, and a mandolin sound like when all played simultaneously I probably would have raised an eyebrow and smirked.
In case you’re wondering. It works.
I’m not saying it comes anywhere close to Mozart or even your dad's best attempt at a garage band. Despite our musical diversity, Mary Poppins was right; a spoonful of sugar does help the medicine go down.
This spoonful was filled to the brim with childlike play, a tad bit of cleverness, and a heaping dose of ridiculous. Yet no matter how horrible we sounded as we attempted to play instruments we had never touched. Or faced with the mere fact that a potato can be an instrument (yeah it really happened), no one ever seemed daunted to the point of failure. Failure was never objectified as an option, rather it was embraced with reckless abandon as pure participate. If you weren’t failing, you weren’t trying hard enough to break the rules.
At one point our music went from an Irish throw-down to some kind of Zelda background music, the kind where you walk into a village and ask if you can buy a cabbage. There seemed to be no end to what could be banged on, strummed, or hit to produce any variation of sound or rhythm. Music like this is the result of when you invite anyone to create music with only one purpose - experimentation.
Looking back on the hilarious insanity of 9 people going crazy with whatever they could get their hands on made me realize they were reflecting a truth that lies dormant in each one of us.
Our reckless abandonment was a reflection of community. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was real. At the end of the day, all that matters is we gave our best, we took chances, made a fool of ourselves and a healthy dose of childlike awe. Community doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be real, and available. So next time you find yourself surrounded by tap shoes, a psaltery, a flute, a MIDI keyboard, a kazhoo, a hand drum, and a mandolin...You're probably right where you need to be.