There is a reason you hear all the bluegrass groups thank the sound man at shows. They can make or break you, and for the acoustic crowd, if you can’t hear you are lost.
Somehow our sound wasn’t right at sound-check this morning, and our regular man was gone. The volunteers had a tough time trouble shooting it. I played my solid body electric mando today, and a man who doesn’t read music and plays a electric mandolin without a monitor is not what you want to hear.
I could feel my blood pressure going up. I clenched my teeth. Our music minster reads me well. “Sorry, Doc. They’ll get it going.”
“I know. Man, I am mad at myself for being upset. This is the Lord’s House. I gotta calm down. It ain’t right to be mad in here.”
“At the same time, though, we want good sound at a bluegrass show, so shouldn’t we want to the same for the Good Lord? We’re supposed to bring Him our best.”
“Doc, you’re just like me. Intense.”
“More than what people know.”
“Thanks. Tell you what brother. If the mando monitor doesn’t come on, I’ll stand up here, smile, and act like I’m playing my heart out. I won’t play a note, though. It’d ruin the service. Besides, the singers and the other instruments will cover it O.K.”
“That’s the spirit, Doc.”
And that is exactly what I did for the entire first number, ’Here I am to Worship.’ No monitor, and no mando. About two bars into the second song, the man at the mixing board gave me a thumbs up. ‘Let there be sound,’ I thought. After a couple bars I was in the spirit and felt like I played O.K.
An elderly lady approached me after church. “Doctor. I must tell you I was against those hillbilly instruments at first. But I have come to enjoy them.”
“Thank you, Ma’am.”
“The music was excellent today. I especially like to hear you play ‘Here I am to Worship.’ That little guitar sounds so nice.”
“Yes, ma’am.” I shook her hand. “I’m glad you enjoyed it.”
When she left, I laughed at myself, and felt all the intensity drain right out of me. Alone, I ain’t very important. God bless the sound man. He worked a miracle today. I’m sorry I was mad at him for a moment there.