December brings lights, candles, traditions, celebration, excitement, and connection. I really begin to feel the holidays come alive when I attend Calvert Hall College High School’s annual Christmas Concert. This was my seventh year, and third since my oldest son graduated. Twice a year I return to the school: at Christmas and for the spring musical. This year was different as it highlighted for me key differences in the energy we can bring to our work.
Traditions and Community
I love the sense of community the school has and the deep friendships I’ve cultivated and nurtured. The traditions are comforting and, for me, signal the real start to the holidays. Year after year, the performances are jaw-droppingly terrific. The show includes the entire music department: the jazz ensemble, the string ensemble, the choir (called the Hallmen), the chamber singers, the orchestra, and—new this year—a percussion ensemble.
There’s always the appearance of The Grinch, who scampers about onstage, ruffling hair and teasing the conductor. The evening concludes with a sing-along. Students, parents, alumni, and staff, stand arm-in-arm, swaying as they sing out. Additionally, there’s a performance of Sleigh Bells, which rivals any professional orchestra. Seriously.
Are you pumped up or phoning it in?
You may be asking, what does this have to do with business? Well, I’ll tell you. There were two performances last night that stood out: the first was a rendition by the percussion group of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Sarajevo and the second an African Spiritual performed by the Hallmen. Both were technically proficient. However, Savajevo earned a spontaneous, full-house standing ovation. In contrast, the spiritual felt heavy and uninspired. What was different about them?
In two words: the conductors. With Sarajevo, the conductor threw his whole body into leading the musicians. He felt the music, and it showed. The boys responded in kind, swaying, feeling the vibrations. The piece is undeniably difficult, and those boys rose to the challenge. The last notes hovered in the air as the audience rose to their feet, cheering and clapping. In my seven years at Calvert Hall, I’ve not seen anything like it.
The conductor of the Hallmen led the singers to perform. There wasn’t any passion in his movements, and the boys also displayed a singular lack of passion. Spirituals, by their very nature, are moving. I typically cry listening to the lyrics and the depth of feeling they inspire. That didn’t happen this year. I wasn’t alone as evidenced by the polite clapping following the performance’s conclusion.
Tell me: how do you show up?
This got me to thinking: how do we show up when working with our clients? Do we throw our whole selves in, feeling our way through and leading with excitement and passion? Or do we show up relying solely on our technical proficiency?
If you’re feeling uninspired and stuck, let’s meet for a virtual coffee to see if the Journey Program is right for you.