On Sunday, my choir held their annual charity fundraising concert. Two and a half hours of joyful, amateur music from a couple of choirs, and some carefully selected young soloists, followed by champagne and Christmas cake. There were high notes of beauty and pathos... and low notes, mistakes, fumbles and mistiming. But in spite of all that, it was a lot of fun!
You wouldn't know it to look at Launceston, but there's a lively underground subculture of musicians lurking just below the surface here. This music scene is a whole new world to me. I'm used to the church scene, where everyone knows everyone, but here is this parallel universe of singers and players who all know everybody and are just as busy practising and performing and socialising as we ever were at church.
I love it. Society puts a lot of pressure on all of us to be perfect. Perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect house, perfect car, perfect... everything. It's all crazy. None of us are perfect, we never can be, and all those celebrities and magazine scenes are fake and not worth aspiring to.
So when I rock up to an amateur musical or choir performance, sure there are mistakes and imperfections, but more than that... it's a whole bunch of people who know they aren't stars, and can sing and dance perhaps moderately well, but they get in there and have a go. They cut each other slack when mistakes are made, because (whoops) they just made one too. And the audience clap and cheer because they know one or two or more in the cast and love them, and are delighted to see them giving their best and producing something good. It's like we have permission to be average. Not that we don't aspire to do our best, just that if our best isn't perfect - that's OK.
I'm still learning the culture of Launnie's music scene, edging my way in slowly and trying not to over commit. It was a little scary to begin with, but more and more I feel part of the 'family', that I can be myself, relax and have a go, whatever the result.
This could be the antidote to that perfectionist streak that keeps on rearing its ugly head. What a sweet relief.