Affection and Respect

Now that the Black Nativity show is finished (we had our last performance on Sunday) and I am no longer singing in the choir every two days or so, I can rest a bit and reflect on what I've learned over the past 6 weeks. I know I'll cherish the experience of singing these amazing gospel songs with a talented African-American choir, and being on stage with a dozen stunning dancers and five extraordinary musicians. But what will remain with me as deep life lessons are remarks made by two of the directors of Black Nativity.

Pastor Patrinell Wright, the music director, said at our first rehearsal, "The  reason we are here is to offer hope and to create joy. Nothing else matters. That's our mission."

Two weeks later, we were struggling to learn how to move around on stage during and between songs. This was a challenge that involved up to fifty-four people at a time: choir members and soloists, plus narrators, musicians, and dancers. People were rushing about, running into each other, doing our best to  get to the right places on time.

Jackie Moscou, our theatrical director, said: "From now on, I am going to stop referring to you as choir, dancers, narrators, and musicians. From now on, you must realize that you are all just members of the same community. And no matter what you are doing, whenever you move from one place to another on stage, at every encounter with another cast member, you will greet that person with affection and respect. You might just look at someone and smile, or touch her or him on the shoulder, or shake hands, or give someone a hug, but you will always treat everyone with affection and respect. If you don't do that, the audience will always know, and will know that you are faking it. You have to mean it, and you have to do it."

The best advice I ever heard for how to create a healthy, happy, and productive team Thanks, Pat and Jackie..