Last night Deric and I went to catch a live acapella performance where a few of our friends were performing. The event was called Stereo and Popcorn, and the name of the group that was singing was Tapestry.
It was good fun, and I thought the choreography, variety of music and performance styles (group songs as well as occasional solos or duets) were great and pretty entertaining.
I was especially proud to see a childhood friend of mine (who was one of the members of Tapestry) indulging in an activity (singing) that she absolutely loves. There’s something really invigorating about doing what you love, whether it be as a hobby or even as your work.
Watching her perform got me thinking though.
Tomorrow will be the first year anniversary of my marriage. I’m really glad for the one year that Deric and I have had, and am indeed happily married. The only thing is that it’s inevitable that when you do get married, you give up some stuff along the way. And sometimes life will not be the same afterwards.
One of the things I’ve given up when I got married was that I stopped attending the church that I grew up in so that I could attend Deric’s church instead. As a result of that decision, I also had to stop serving as a musician in the worship team at my old church. And I’ve not taken up a similar position ever since.
It’s not to say that such an opportunity wasn’t available to me, but I guess for some reasons (mainly to adjust to my new status in life and to the new domestic environment that I now belonged to) I decided to sit it out and not indulge in any music related activities at church for the time being.
Now, with the advent of my first wedding anniversary, I realise that it’s been about a year since the last time I picked up a musical instrument. Yes, I haven’t even played a single note of music since I stopped serving in church, not even in my spare time. I guess with most of our things in a state of disarray and thanks to a significant lack of furniture in the home, it became one of those things that I neglected.
I have mixed feelings now about making music. The longer I stay away, the more I feel reluctant to return to it because I feel I have nothing to offer. It’s pretty much in the same vein as not wanting to attempt to craft short stories or poems due to an overwhelming feeling of emptiness in terms of my creativity bank.
Listening to U2’s The Joshua Tree album in the car lately has also made me dwell on thoughts about music.
I recall a time in the past where a friend from my tertiary education days had invited me to join jamming sessions with him and a handful of his guy friends. We called ourselves Tuesdays 38 because we used to meet at a jamming studio in SS15, Subang Jaya where they’d charge us RM38 per hour for using their equipment and premises.
I was the only girl in that group and I was tasked with playing keyboards. A few of them loved U2, and we used to jam songs such as Where The Streets Have No Name and With or Without You together. It was fun, but not quite so fun for me as the rest since a keyboardist has a rather minimal role when it comes to rock songs like U2’s.
Nevertheless, those were enjoyable times and I wished we had kept up the habit. However, just after a few jamming sessions, we more or less disbanded, due to the non-committal attitude that some of them had.
At the same time, I was also part of the on-off four piece band, The Basil Band, which was started by my friend Basil (hence the name). I was the drummer in that band, whereas two other friends, Julian and Joanne, were the cellist and pianist/keyboardist respectively. Basil was the singer/composer and also our guitarist.
The lifetime of this band was way longer than Tuesdays 38, but we also very rarely met and band members only really made the effort to get together to play when there was a project of some sort at hand. But in the later years of the band, even that was not enough to get the whole band together. One member or the other would be missing.
I guess you could blame that in part on our busy careers. Joanne was pretty much a high flyer at her job, and her commitment to her job paid off in later years, but at the expense of her role in the band.
Meanwhile, Julian was an accountant/auditor (I was sometimes not really clear which it was) by profession, and by the very nature of work that’s associated with that career path, he was also often tied up at the office.
As for Basil, he was the most available of the four of us, but his attention was somewhat divided. Sometimes he would have surges of enthusiasm to get the band together, at other times I’d hear from others or see through social media that he was busy with other solo projects on the side.
And me? I was once a programmer and an IT support staff, hence I also had a rather tiring job that often required me to work strange hours such as past midnight or even on weekends. (I eventually left this job to pursue something I am more passionate about: writing).
After a long drawn existence with little to show despite the years flying by, The Basil Band has more or less died a natural death. (Although I suspect sometimes that at the back of Basil’s mind, he might still think that the band could be easily revived at a moment’s notice should he call the rest of us for a meet up).
And so, with the exception of playing in the church for Sunday services, I did not have any other musical outlet which pushed me to improve my technique nor to take my musical abilities any further.
So, having left my old childhood church and distanced myself from any sort of opportunity to make music, my musical abilities have now come to this point of near-death. But they say in real life, near-death experiences usually leave a profound mark on an individual’s life that causes them to change afterwards, usually for the better.
In the light of such reasoning, since I’ve now realised my arrival at this near-death experience of my musical journey, does that mean that now something profoundly remarkable is about to spring up and change the way things are?
That view seems a tad too optimistic, really.
But I really do regret that it has come to this. I have always felt that the question of which was my greatest passion in life (other than the obvious answer of God) had been a toss-up between music and writing. In recent years, writing has been the clear winner.
But need the choice really be made?
Is there a career out there where I can use both my music and writing skills to my advantage? Do I even want to take on such a challenge? And will my making a career of out writing/music/both eventually kill my love for these activities? (Something that has yet to be seen, even in terms of my writing career).
Well, these are all just thoughts. Perhaps it’s just another bout of melancholy. But I do certainly miss the dynamics of playing in a band. If only something more significant had come out of my stints in “bands” in the past.
But then again, I don’t feel all that talented in music, even from long ago while I was still taking lessons for the piano and later on, for drums.
Sometimes I envy people in other developed countries like the US where you can literally do anything that you enjoy doing, and actually earn a decent amount of money while at it. This is especially so within the fields of art or music. Or even writing. Sad that it’s not entirely the case here.
Anyhow, the truth remains that I miss making music. But I only have myself to blame for that.