I wish I could remember exactly why I decided in January to sign up to attend the regional AGO convention. Somehow I forgot that July in Indianapolis is not the most favorable of weather. I didn’t know anything about any of the featured performers and I wasn’t sure if any of the few of you that I know were going to be there. So I headed down to the meeting with little or no expectations about what I was going to be doing for the next several days. I hoped that with a mindset open to new experiences, I might have a not-terrible time. After all, it was costing me 4 days of vacation!!
WOW. That was the word that I uttered several times a day. And let me explain why.
The featured artists. Before Indy, none of the names of the scheduled performers meant anything to me. I would not have been able tell you anything other than some of their pictures can be found on the back of the AGO magazine. I was inspired, awed, amazed, delighted, and,…..well you get idea. The caliber of the performers was unlike anything I have ever heard. And I look forward to hearing some of these folks again at another AGO convention.
Would anybody talk to me? Music is not my vocation. I have a “corporate American” job which consumes me during the week. Organ playing and other music options fill my weekends. I was afraid that I would stick out like a sore thumb as an unworthy amateur soul and no one would talk to me. Yet what I found was the opposite. It was fun to talk with people from across our regions. I had two “6 degrees of separation” moments. I grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Riding back on the bus one night I met a woman from Fort Wayne whose pastor grew up in Sioux Falls and is the daughter of a high school classmate. On another bus ride I met a man from the Fox Valley chapter who spent a year in Sioux Falls back in the mid 70’s covering for a sick piano teacher at one of the local colleges. We talked about at least 6 people that we both know. And of course I had the fine fellowship of the 3 others from our own chapter. And let me reiterate what fine people we have in our North Shore chapter.
Would the workshops be of value to me? Well yes they were. There were several options each day and I found that the 3 workshops that I attended were just perfect for me. I was particularly inspired by the one talking about the AGO certification process, and found more than a dozen people also interested in passing the Service Playing exam. The goal of the workshop was to make me feel more confidence in taking the exam and by the end of the session I was soaring on cloud 9.
Why will I go to another convention?
The singing. Many of the concerts were open to the members of the congregations hosting the event. So with the 300 plus associated with the convention plus the local folks, most of the venues were full. Some really full. I cannot image that the celestial choir sounded any better than what I heard in Indy. Full rooms of people with hearts full of song with the ability to sing in full harmony made my heart swell with joy. Of course hearing the concerts was wonderful. I had anticipated that they would be. I didn’t know about the singing and was so excited to be a participant in those holy choirs.
The jokes. I got them. That is how I know I was with my people. I can’t even remember a single one of them. But I know that from Sunday night through Wednesday night, I laughed. A lot. And immensely enjoyed myself.
I know that I will not be able to attend the National Convention in Houston in 2016 because of a previous commitment. But I am looking forward to the 2016 regional!!!