I was exhausted when we returned home after our PULSE Charity Concert at the Presbyterian Church in Pinelands on Heritage Day 25 September 2017. Our music group PULSE (attached to Mossop Hall) had moved out of its comfort zone … big TIME! The call came from Beatrice Smith whose husband Lindsay was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2008. They participate in a DANCE initiative called TURNING STEPS – a program that develops flexibility and instills confidence.
Regular readers to this blog will know that my ex boss, the late Rev. Doctor Allister Rundle (pictured above) suffered from this chronic and progressive disorder. The symptoms continue and worsen over time. Beatrice said that their Dance group has really helped Lindsay. “It makes him sleep better at night”. I was totally committed and the PULSE musicians agreed to join in the drive.
We aimed to get 250 bums on seats. PULSE never charges for its performances. Everything is done for the love of music as well as a deep desire for people to find their voice. We suggested a R50.00 donation and chose a venue four times the size of Mossop Hall. Ample parking was also a great draw card. Our pattern for performances is clear. Start at 4.00 p.m. (in winter) or 5.00 p.m. (in summer) on public holidays (when the roads are quiet). Song selection is critical. I always point out that PULSE is there to make music and have interactive fun. It is definitely not an Eisteddfod performance.
Hindsight turns into such an exact science. Here are some of the problems we faced: 1. Managing the sound was scary. The church turned into an acoustic nightmare. 2. Our lead singer cut his finger and could not play his guitar properly 3. Our bass guitarist announced 10 days before show time that he was leaving for the U.K the next day. 4. Our leading Les Girls singer came down with a migraine and was unable to perform 5. One of the guitarist’s car broke down and arrived with 10 minutes to spare. The list could go on and on.
I looked at everyone and said: “Come on guys (and ladies) we can do it! Let’s give it our best shot and hold onto the bigger picture”.
For me the highlight of the evening was to see Johan (our Uke king) get off the stage and dance vigorously to a rock and roll medley with the local church secretary. It was fabulous. Thanks to a power point presentation, audience participation was guaranteed and everyone was clearly enjoying themselves. We had widened the circle. People from all over the Peninsula had made their pilgrimage and judging from their comments at the end of the show we had achieved our aim.
We had raised the PULSE. Our Treasurer sent me an SMS to say that we would be able to give the CHARITY R10, 000.00 and present a sizeable donation to the Presbyterian Church for the use of their property. So if you are reading this blog, please receive our heartfelt thanks for for all who made this event happen. I think of the PULSE team, the sound engineers, the ladies in the kitchen, the minister and his church council and all who made the effort to “sell tickets”.
My only regret is not to have got people to write down their names and contact details. So if anyone is reading this on Facebook, please click on and enter comments and suggestions. Arlene (a recent addition to PULSE) summed up the HERITAGE DAY experience of “giving one’s all for a worthy cause”.
“I don’t usually contribute to these discussions as I am a newcomer but I am going to stick my oar in today.
The important thing about yesterday’s concert was that we were not defeated by the many many many challenges we faced – just one challenge after the other! But we made it happen with the help and patience of so many volunteers and of course the group members.
Wayne you are right. No one was perfect. The timing was awful at times – quite cringe worthy, in fact. But no one walked out. That’s a positive sign. We need to develop ‘sideways ears’ and learn to focus on the sounds next to us and to adjust as needed. But this is not a professional group. All we can hope to do is our best each time and to continue to have fun.
But here is the important thing. We raised a lot of money for a very worthy cause and we brought smiles to faces of people who are facing extraordinary challenges in their daily living. I got a lot of positive feedback from people. They enjoyed themselves and were forgiving of our errors.
And I had a lot of fun. I hope others in the group did too.
Yours in music
Her thoughts give St. Paul’s words (adapted by Wesley in the Rules of a Helper) “SPEND AND BE SPENT” (2 Cor.12:15) a whole new sense of meaning.