Now For Something Different

What are these unsuspecting folks, just grabbing a burger or a taco at the local food court of the Santa Rosa mall to sustain themselves before launching back into frenetic Christmas shopping, about to experience?

My post on Dec. 2nd (scroll back a little ways), dealt with the disappointment of a dream interrupted. Sometimes in life, we’re lucky enough to have what we refer to in therapy as a corrective experience. I had one of those.

Like many great ideas that catch on and spread like wildfire, someone posted a “flash-mob” (a pre-arranged, but impromptu-appearing gathering of a bunch of people for a particular reason—sort of like guerrilla theater back in the 60ies) on YouTube of Handel’s Messiah. These folks gathered at a mall and broke into song to the delight and astonishment of shoppers milling about.

Michael, a local DJ in Santa Rosa figured if the east coast can do it, surely we–out here on the west coast–can pull it off. Word spread through various choirs throughout the city; it spilled over to random singers in the community. We were told not to refer to it as a “flash-mob” for obvious mall security reasons, and began referring to it as Project Messiah. It was a well-guarded secret that couldn’t be contained due to the enthusiasm it created. Word spread, and spread. It leaked to Facebook. “Just show up at the food court at the mall at 2:20; don’t ask me why,” was a common buzz phrase about town.

I dug into my music file and extracted the Hallelujah score. I carried it, along with a huge amount of excitement, to the Monday rehearsal preceding the big event. We reached the last page, the last stanza, the last measure, and—what? No highest note? Surely there must be a mistake. I didn’t miss anything the first time around? At all? What a revelation, and how strange to feel let down by something I didn’t miss.

Regardless, the rehearsal sent the hundred-plus singers gathered in the music room sky high. It was amazing, and promised to be even more amazing when we (and others who would join us) appeared interspersed amongst the crowd of shoppers and munchers to sing one of the most beautiful pieces of classical music ever composed.

Saturday afternoon around 2pm, familiar faces appeared in the mall, hanging out, trying to look casual. Many of us, myself included, just don’t “do” mall. That much energy in one place makes my teeth itch. We glanced at each other, gave quick nods of recognition or conspiracy, or a brief smile as we melted into the crowd. My friend Trudy was among the throng and agreed to video the event. I’m sure the food court has never housed so many people milling about, not eating.

It was wonderful when, on cue, we all burst into song! Even without that elusive last note from the past, this was a highlight of my holiday. The very best to you and yours as this Christmas season unfolds.