Although each of our performances has been different, we’ve tried to keep the skeleton of our set pretty much the same. For instance, full band sets always start with “Clocks,” followed by “Undo Me,” and they end with “Remembered For,” a very upbeat song about the legacy we leave — that is, how we want to be remembered: not so much for the things we’ve done but who we were, particularly with those we love the most.
Last night at Bugsy’s Jazz Club, we played an anthemic “Another Hallelujah” (see previous post) then finished with “Remembered For.” As we played the last notes — a pentatonic minor scale (for those playing along) — there was a touch of finality to it. Relief, sadness, the sense of victory after a runner crosses the finish line.
We began rehearsals about three months ago, easy at first to pace ourselves, then we pushed hard in the middle, only to let up a little toward the end so as not to peak before the performances themselves. More than two dozen songs we worked on, some of which lay on the cutting room floor back in Ohio. I’m more than satisfied with the team’s effort, each servant musician pulling their weight, and then some. They’ve put in long hours tweaking their instrument setup, only to scrap it once we hit Polish soil and had to adjust to various sound setups. They’ve memorized chord progressions, rhythm patterns, lyrics, and set orders. Their families have had to work around our rehearsal schedules, to say nothing of dealing with our week-long absence, which affected Olivia indubitably the most, since she left two little girls thousands of miles away.
Harken, it’s a name we’re barely getting accustomed to. Every time we’re introduced or see our names on a poster it’s with the moniker. I’ve typically referred to us as the Poland band, which of course would make little sense referring to us as here.
Harken: to listen. We’ve had many listeners, different concert attenders. And at this point we pray that somehow the message of our music takes root. We’ve engaged believers here, to be sure, and encouraged them, I think. And they’ve encouraged us. As Paul described: “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” Just as those last notes of that minor pentatonic scale rung through the club, we pray that our message continues to reverberate in the hearts of those who heard our songs.
Today is a day off of sorts. At once a sight-seeing, shopping, travel day. We’ll see the mansion where I played in the Mirror Room last night for an audience who appreciated my Chopin fumbling. I played four of his pieces on a beautiful Italian piano and the sound echoed warmly throughout the ornate room, a small hall really. Though I was never greatly proficient in technique, and certainly not now after almost twenty years since my last piano lesson, I think my greatest strengths shined through: my attention to expression and the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit, neither of which I can boast as my own doing. I’ve particularly enjoyed the variety of music I’ve personally gotten to play and sing — as well as listen to, as we were in town for the Telemann festivities at the Palace.
So, after a long day wrought with a host of emotions, which began with a four-hour tour of Auschwitz — with all that visit entailed — we’ll take today to breathe before the long flight back home in the morning. Please pray that we’ll safely touchdown in Dayton tomorrow evening.