Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

A tale of two concerts


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas and along with holiday lights and temporary lots filled with fragrant greens, there are holiday concerts happening in towns everywhere.

Thursday afternoon, while scrolling through Facebook I noticed an announcement for a community orchestra concert in a town just twenty minutes from me. I didn’t know the city of Fenton even had a community orchestra.

The concert was free. What did I have to lose?

Excited to hear the program.

Turns out it was nothing but a win for everyone that attended, both the musicians and those of us in the audience. A multi generational musical organization, much like my own Clarkston Community Band, the group had a wonderful, full, sound, and played a variety of music, some of which most of us recognized.

I couldn’t help but smile through the whole thing.

Was the performance perfect? Of course not. There were times intonation was off, a few, rare, wrong notes. A squeak. But I learned something. I learned that, as an audience member, these small errors didn’t ruin the experience. Each little blip disappeared under layers of beautiful sounds, the overall enthusiasm of the musicians and music director, and the obvious love and support from the people around me in the audience.

A large crowd turned out to support their local community orchestra.

I left the auditorium with a big smile on my face, humming Leroy Anderson’s Christmas Festival, something I’ve played multiple times, but had never heard while seated in an audience.

Testing the sound system in advance of our concert.

And on the drive home I thought about all the concerts I’ve played where I’ve been focused on the parts that didn’t go perfectly, felt bad afterwards because something had gone wrong. The reality is, for most in our audience, the overall experience at our concerts is probably good, maybe even great.

And if members of our audience leave our venue with smiles on their faces, maybe even humming a bit…well…then the concert was a success.

Making our audience smile.

My own Clarkston Community Band played our holiday concert Friday night. We had less than an optimal number of rehearsals, and though I practiced, I was still nervous. The nerves were well founded, as I lost my way on one piece of music, missing almost an entire page of music before I could join back in.

Santa shows up with the world’s largest whip slap percussion instrument!

But the reality is, one 2nd clarinet’s loss of concentration did not ruin the concert. Most likely no one but the clarinet playing next to me even knew. And the overall feeling of the evening was happy, fun, perhaps even joyful.

Sleigh Ride is guaranteed to make an audience smile. Especially with a whip that can be heard into the next county.

Cookies and cider at a reception for Santa afterward didn’t hurt either.

Smiles all around.

Happy Holidays, everyone! May all your days be warm and inviting and fun. And look around your community, there’s likely a group out there that would love to have you in the audience!

I guarantee you’ll be humming on the ride home.

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

25 thoughts on “A tale of two concerts

  1. Sounds like two good concerts and I am sure a lot of smiling people 🙂 You are right, correct notes are not always needed, it is joy of music that people are there for. Cool that you could experience it from the audience side so you can relate when on the stage.


    • It was very cool to see a concert one night and play a similar concert the next. I wish more people would get out and hear their community music groups. I think they’d have a good time, and the musicians always play better to a full house.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t play an instrument, so I sit in the audience and marvel at those wonderful musicians on stage who play, turn the pages of their music, and even look up at the conductor. Gosh, you guys are good!


    • You know, someone else a few years ago made a comment about how she didn’t understand how a musician could keep their place in the music and look up to watch the conductor at the same time. And now, every single concert, I have moments when I wonder too. It’s sort of disorienting and weird. Because I never thought about it before.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved your intro “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” … and of course I’m now signing it right out loud. 🙂 How true about the concerns of the instrumentalists (or choir) vs. the joy of the audience. I’d bet most of the audience don’t hear the squeaks or the wrong notes, well, maybe lots do, but that’s not why they are there. I’m heading to a church choir Christmas concert in a week or so. It’s a small church. I will thoroughly enjoy it! I played piano in my youth, through my first two years in college, and played the glockenspiel in junior high school marching band, and played flute in high school and college. And I love church concerts and community concerts and high school concerts. What a treat. Yep, squeaks happen. 🙂 Thanks Dawn.


  4. I agree with you that small errors don’t ruin the experience. Especially when you figure that’s how all of life is, small errors abound but you can still find the joy. Love the photos


  5. What a good post! A wonderful reminder that music—perhaps art in general—doesn’t have to be perfect to bring joy to people.


  6. Dawn, I really needed to read this uplifting post today — thank you! Our symphonic band concert is coming up this week, and, despite practicing, I can’t help but be nervous. Our director moved around the sections (placing ALL the flutes in the front row), and everything just sounds different now. Besides, having those audience members staring right at us gives me the shakes! Perhaps I, too, should attend a concert so I can hear what the audience does … and appreciate what we do for them.


  7. Yes, perfection is overrated, and we put far too much pressure on ourselves.

    Glad you found some joy sitting on both sides of the stage!


  8. Wonderful that you could be in the audience at one concert and onstage at the other, appreciating both sides of the music in new ways. Great!


  9. An awesome post and a great reminder that none of us are perfect and we truly do not need to be!


  10. Sounds like you enjoyed yourself! Too many people for me. We have become wary of gatherings where we don’t know the people:(

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: Misty-eyed Christmas Pops | Change Is Hard

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