Sunday, May 6, 2012

No Spotlights Needed


Keyboard. Drums. Guitar. Bass Guitar. Singers. Check. Now, the tricky part. Making it all sound good. 

I sit in the back of the hall, checking the sound system. Each element on stage plays its own part; harmony, melody, undertones, rhythm. The spotlights catch the faces and the instruments, but what's hidden is my concern. No matter how beautifully the stage is set up, if the sound isn't right, listeners will hear one big chaotic mess. 

I put on headphones and start moving the sliders. The singers - her voice needs to be clearer, his louder. The guitars are too heavy and distracting from the delicate piano. It's not a competition on stage - it's a cooperation. Another techie friend motions to me to check the speakers onstage. Delicately I adjust the keys and buttons until the front of the room pours out sweetness and power, mixed in the right proportions. Maybe the audience won't notice any difference, and maybe even the musicians and soloists will be too caught up in the music to check the details.  That's why I'm here, though. I do my part, so they can do theirs, so the message in the music can come across clearly, effortlessly. 

I smile quietly, contentedly hidden in the dim lamp glow behind the sound panel. No spotlights needed for my job.

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