Where’s the crowd?

One of the dynamics of this tour being so different has been the audiences we sing for. As grateful as we are to be in a beautiful place like Hawaii sharing our ministry, it is hard to suppress some frustrations that have run its course through a good part of the chorale.

What’s made this tour a bit different?

We’ve performed in public venues for come-and-go crowds, not church concerts. It’s not quite our normal routine, and it may feel like it’s outside of the normal ministry that we are to do. Almost all of the places we have sung in so far feels as though we lack a crowd, and it can feel incredibly disappointing.

Surf the Nations on Waikiki beach with a few people in front of the stage and some little kids.

The performance at New Life Church.

Bishop Square Downtown.

Pearl Harbor’s Aviation Museum.

There’s more… but here’s the point. The crowd may feel sparse, but each and every time we’ve sung under these circumstances, I’ve realized after the fact that to say it was fruitless is completely false. At this point, I will cease to believe that a performance is fruitless even if there is ONE person there because of what I’ve seen and heard now.

Surf the Nations? Well, turns out the organizers of the event said we held the biggest crowd over the two-day event and were heard all the way down Waikiki Beach, sharing Jesus Christ over the loudspeakers! Where was this crowd? They had settled in the shade on the grass right behind the stage! Not one of us knew it walking away, disappointed, but they were there! The name of Christ through those loudspeakers in one of Hawaii’s most popular destinations. Better believe it.

New Life Church? If that didn’t bring all the local people associated with APU for the alumni gathering and concert that evening, it became a blessing for those that were there. The parents with us, the school staff, the founders of Surf the Nation,… I could go on.

Bishop Square? People may have come and gone during their lunch hour from work, but a man came up to Harold saying how much he needed to hear us and the effect it had on his heart.

Then the Aviation Museum? Let’s not discount the museum staff that was behind that video camera. I’m sure the gift shop that was just a wall away heard us. Who knows how many ears we’ll have reached and and who we’ll encounter!

As an example, the other night at the First Presbyterian Church, we finished singing our number in a joint concert with a band. As we met and greeted people afterwards, a couple came up asking for our performance schedule, very flustered. Not knowing, I just directed them to our table and they received a schedule. Not more than 30 minutes later as we were about to leave on the busses, a whistle from Harold brought us all back into the building. Right in the lobby was that same couple. They had driven for over an hour or two, lost their way, and made it just in time for the last five chords of our performance!

Right there in that lobby, we embraced them by circling around them, and began singing. Ending with Holy, Holy, Holy and the Amen chorus, the gentleman then prayed for us. I later found out he heads up part of the Salvation Army, so he might’ve been a really big deal, and he wants to use us. And they were from England. Just goes to show, who knows what could be in store for the chorale down the road.

If this can be any encouragement to our guys that are reading, or anyone out there for that matter performing, ears do get reached, and in this sense, the Holy Spirit definitely comes in play, whether our minds are tired, our voices fatigued, our bodies exhausted from being on the road for fifteen days. What little we can give, turns into a lot for those sitting beyond the stage. We just don’t know so many times.

I just finished a book, Dispatches from the Edge, by CNN anchor and correspondent, Anderson Cooper. In a very telling memoir of his journeys through Niger, the Tsunami, Iraq, and then Katrina, he opens himself up to an incredible place of vulnerability and recounts his childhood, the incredible losses in his family, and his urge to keep moving from place to place. At one point about hurricane Katrina, he mentions all the loss that he saw. Yet the networks had given him wonderful ratings and viewership and told him to ‘keep it up’. From what he says, it seems like he never cared, understood, needed the ratings. He needed to help these people. Reminded me of what we’re doing here. We’re continually blessing people with our voices whether we recognize it or not.

If it’s also any consolation, the first part of our tour was in northern California. One of our bus drivers, Marie, told a couple of us at the very last concert in Napa, “I really needed this.” She didn’t come expecting it, but she needed this so much, she quietly passed onto us. Wow. This is what happens. She had come along and heard our performance for those five days on tour. “What do you wanna do this Mother’s day mom,” she said her daughter will ask. “I’m going to church!”

‘Nough said.

So whether it’s singing for what seems to be about 15 people in the audience, or some public park waterfall overtakes your sound, or waking up at 5 a.m. (Harold and Andrea!) for a television station interview, it isn’t fruitless. Maybe it takes a lot to trust that this might have touched someone and something could come to fruition a decade from now. This tour has been different. We usually minister to God’s own people in churches, and it is encouraging. But this time around, we were out by the streets, in the malls, on the beaches. What more opportunities could we have asked for? We’ll see, right?

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1 Comment »

  1. Deborah said

    Way to put it all in perspective Alex! It can be discouraging when it seems no one is listening or no one even cares, but to the ones who are there you never know the difference you will make. God is using you all in His own perfect way! Trust in that and continue to use the gifts He has blessed you with for His glory! =)

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