Sunday, January 19
Grace is real.
Both the one that comes from God, and gives us things we could never deserve, and the newest a cappella group in the world.
Tuesday was auditions. I was afraid no one would show up, or no one would want to join my group. But as I listened to dozens of young men and women who wanted a place to sing, my fears changed.
The fear became, "What if I can't get the people I want?" The only negative aspect of holding auditions with the a cappella club is that more senior clubs get first pick on people to choose. (I'd give the pick to the student who's being contested... but I don't have much say in that.) Some of the people I had really liked in the audition got picked up by other groups without my getting a word in. But I still had people, and I felt good about it. And the group director for Attention (the all-girls group on campus) ran after me after we spoke and gave me back the audition sheet for one of the girls I had wanted for Grace. She started Attention last year, and we've been friends since then. I felt hugely grateful. And my fears changed again.
I sent emails and made phone calls to each group member, afraid that they would all say no. But they didn't. Within two days, I had confirmation from all 8 other group members that they wanted to be part of Grace. And my fears changed again.
We perform every week in Grace... and choose our music based on the audience. But how would that work? Learning music is one thing; finding that much a cappella music in good arrangements is completely another. I'm not an arranger, and after 6 hours of trying to do a mashup of Amazing Grace and the traditional Homeward Bound, I had almost nothing. Would we have nothing to sing? A group member texted me and asked if we needed another guy... because he knew a guy who did arranging and composition. The group leader for Attention called me and told me she had found someone who arranged as well... who wanted an a cappella group. Both accepted, and I felt like we had a chance. And my fears began to dissipate while they changed.
I had sent out a survey to find times convenient for everyone to rehearse. I learned in retrospect that other group leaders chose practice times first, then only invited people who could make it. As results came in, there were no spots the entire week that everyone was free. None at all. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find a time for everyone to meet... and would have to hold partial practices... which would ostracize people from the group. And having people feel left out... that's an awful fear in my world. Knowing not everyone could make it, I scheduled the first rehearsal for yesterday, and the first performance for today.
And then all my fears dissolved.
We found each other and sat in a stairwell, getting to know one another and singing to prepare for our performance tonight. We found times to practice. Helped each other find a beat for beatboxing. Listened and played with melodies and harmonies and rhythms of hymns we love.
And I wasn't afraid anymore.
Yesterday I saw miracle after miracle... the dreams and hopes of 11 people coming true, and the beauty of the power those dreams hold. Of the 12 songs we sang, most turned out great; some we didn't feel... and our last, "Come, Come, Ye Saints" with a tribal chant (and beatboxed rain stick to accompany), was awesome enough that we sang it again to record. And it'll have a spot on our eventual CD.
I don't think I've been this excited... maybe ever. Really. I've never had my hopes this high. Never believed in myself the way that I do today.
You see, I've wanted to be a part of something like Grace for as long as I can remember. But I never felt like I was good enough, or couldn't find groups that fit. And last year I tried to start a group, but before actually trying I stopped because I was afraid. Afraid that I would fail, and, in failing, destroy not only my dreams, but someone else's as well. I mean, who wants a group leader that's autistic? Who can't really understand group dynamics?
So I stopped before even trying.
But this time I felt like I should do it, and I dove in head first. Fliers all around campus. Targeted advertisements on Facebook. Everything I knew how.
And it worked.
The feeling of liberation... of believing in myself... that's what makes this so much more than just a singing group. The gratitude on the group members faces for giving them a chance at their dreams is etched in my mind... and I realize that in the past years I really have learned things that I had never known before. I've learned to understand group dynamics, marketing, people, and communication. Negotiation skills, creating engaging and effective environments, and reaching out to understand individual needs.
All that made Grace possible...
...and it all happened because of grace.
I'm sure that Grace won't be perfect, and my idealization will find hiccups along the way. We'll probably bomb a performance or ten, and drama is a given in music. We may not become the world's best group, and definitely won't see that overnight. And I'm still somewhat afraid of mentioning to my group members that I have autism or that I'm attracted to guys. That'll come as we get to know each other... or as they friend me on Facebook. :)
But this morning, I still find myself overwhelmed and crying (yes, I cry)... because the fears I've held for so long have been proven wrong. Today I'm grateful for both kinds of Grace. They've shown me I can believe in myself. That I can change. That I can hope. And that, behind the everyday of life, God is there, watching and guiding me to the happiness that will follow if I will simply follow Him.
Grace's first performance is tonight at the Orem Rehab and Nursing Center. 7:00 in the north dining hall. We're singing hymns, with our own twist.
And we have a Facebook page that will have future performance schedules.
Posted by Mormon Guy at 10:38 AM