Rhema South Family Church Christmas Celebration

On the evening of November 27, Craig and I played at the Rhema South Family Church for the first performance of their Christmas celebration production. It was extremely well attended, with somewhere in the region of 4000 people subjecting themselves to the casts' tender mercies. The programme listed items such as "African Christmas", and other elegantly named features, with us listed as "Bag Pipers", but no matter. The first "Bag Pipers" item was slotted in as the 8th act, which entailed us starting from the back of the auditorium, and marching down the centre aisle, splitting at the stage front, and mounting the stage from opposite ends, meeting again in the middle of the stage. We managed this without much going awry, even after having to avoid the odd handicapped person's transport, apart from me having to readjust the 3rd part of Angus McKinnon as I reached the top of the steps due to the fact that I was almost a whole bar ahead of Craig at that stage.

The reception by the audience was stunning, and their approval induced a nice adrenalin rush. We then played Good King Wenceslas into We Wish You A Merry Christmas, which we pulled off without error, much to our astonishment, apart from yours truly going blank at the start of the set, and not being able to remember quite how the Good King started. Pulled myself towards myself, and sorted that one out. We finished the set, and stopped, basking in the adulation of our adoring public. Perhaps that was what sparked the next incident.

We were now to play good ole Green Hulls, walk off the stage, down the steps, meet again in front of the stage, and march back up the centre aisle and out the back of the auditorium. We strike up, start the tune, turn, and down the steps. As I reached the auditorium floor, and turned to the front of the stage, the spotlight illuminated me wonderfully. Which is all well and good, being the exhibitionist that I am, except for the fact that the spotlight is on the same level as me, is shining directly into my eyes, and effectively rendering me as sighted as a bat in an echo chamber. I tentatively shuffled forward, and managed to round the corner of the stage without treading on too many feet, or falling flat on my face, whereupon I start trying to find the Bearded Leader for our grand exit. "Errrr where the hell is Craig?" I think to myself. Reaching the centre aisle, I realize that he must have been abducted by aliens, or fell down the steps, or something, and proceed up the centre aisle all on my lonesome. That marvellous spotlight operator never wavered in his duty to keep me blinded for the entire stroll/shuffle up the aisle. Fortunately I managed to remember where all the wheelchairs were, and managed to make it up without ruining some nice people's day. Cutting out at the back of the auditorium, I again looked for Craig, but he was nowhere.

I made my way to the backstage area, where I encountered said scatterbrain. He had come off the stage, and promptly exited through the back stage door, which is what we were going to be doing for our second performance. He carried on playing back stage, waiting for me to arrive, which I obviously never did, being preoccupied at the time with trying not to crash into anything up the aisle. All's well that ends well, however, as the audience was most appreciative of our efforts. Our second performance, listed as item 15, went flawlessly. We came on playing that beloved of all tunes, Amazing Grace, into Scotland the Brave, followed by Jingle Bells and ending and exiting with Auld Lang Syne. We managed to exit correctly this time too, although Craig practiced his exit in our first performance, come to think of it.

We'll get it right next time, won't we Craig? ... Craig? ... now where the hell has he gone?

Article courtesy of Patrick Dean.