Our recent performance of “Amahl and the Night Visitors” was not something that I was excited about from the very beginning. The Providence United Methodist Church Music Ministry performed this work on January 10 and the Chancel Choir was a significant part of it.
I’m not sure why I had an absolutely abysmal enthusiasm level on this. Usually I’m “ready to go” on whatever the director offers up. Maybe the chemo regimen had me down.
Because of my situation, I purposely kept my distance. I was afraid that the timing of the performance (the Saturday prior to my 16th treatment) might find me pretty exhausted. I really wasn’t sure how the neuropathy in my feet would progress – and this performance required some significant time on them. I didn’t volunteer for anything that would require replacement if I had to sit it out. Maybe keeping my distance also reduced my enthusiasm.
Despite my lack of involvement, Dennis became uber involved in creating the sets for the program. I wasn’t exactly on board with this. It was just too much for one person to handle and we had enough going on with my weekly treatments and accompanying doctors’ appointments. He was supposed to have help, but it didn’t exactly work out that way. We ended up with a garage and kitchen full of props and scenery from early December through January 4. Considering that the holidays were happening in parallel, the entire house was covered with props, scenery, gifts, decorations and baked goods.
Extra rehearsals for the program began in earnest around Christmas time and really got intense after the holidays. The week leading up to the performance included blocking rehearsals, costuming and staged rehearsal after rehearsal and then the dress rehearsal with orchestra. This was exhausting but (since I hadn’t worked on memorization) actually helped me to get the words in my head so that I didn’t sound or look like an idiot when we performed.
The costumes looked pretty ugly on the hangers and on us individually but when we were in our group as shepherds it all came together.
The program actually came off wonderfully. We had quite an impressive cast and performed before a packed house of perhaps 800 folks. I enjoyed being part of it and got much more from the story than I had ever imagined I would.
I was very determined to do this. My mom kept telling me that I should just opt out if I didn’t feel like doing it. That everyone would understand because of my treatment regimen etc etc.
But I have a policy about choir. It’s a team sport. You don’t choose which pieces you’ll participate in. You’re on the team so you participate in everything the team does. You trust the director, learn, rehearse and perform to the best of your ability. That’s how you support the team. That’s what team is all about.
[Pictures from the performance]
So being part of this was my responsibility – regardless of how personally enthusiastic I was about the particular piece.
The week exhausted me. And my determination to have an array of treats for the infusion team on my last chemo day added to the workload following Sunday evening’s performance. Basically after the Amahl responsibilities were done, I spent two days baking cupcakes and mini-cheesecakes. I shouldn’t have been surprised that my blood pressure was a little elevated and I was tired before even getting the infusion!
It all caught up with me when I got home from treatment #16. I fell asleep for 2 hours. I I had a daylong meeting the following day and felt exhausted after dinner – falling asleep again.
I know I will catch up on rest and be fine. Part of the tiredness is Benadryl related too. The side effect rash that I get across my mid-section requires oral Benadryl every 4 hours.
It’s all good, though. I would have felt like I was baling on everyone if I hadn’t participated in Amahl and I did what I wanted to do to thank the infusion team that cared for me for the last 4 and 1/2 months. I wouldn’t have it any other way.