One of the highlights of my experience at Stanborough School was being
taken to hear (and watch) the Watford Philharmonic Orchestra. We sat in
the cheap seats on the front row below the platform which gave us an
intimate view of the main players; the soloists; and Leslie Regan, the conductor.
Whether Leslie had his spirit fortified with a tipple before the performance I do
not know. But his red complexion, uninhibited manner, wild gesticulation, foot stomping
mannerisms were by far, the better part of the show. Boys from the boarding school
needed no tonic to unlock their penchant for mimicry - much to the dismay of the
‘blue rinsed’ brigade in the prime seats behind. Promenading was not yet for Watford.
I still find myself going through the motions when my kids practice their instruments
or I listen to the radio. Stamping my feet, shaking my head, raising eyebrows, keeping
meter with my wrists - and even disparaging viola players! My actions seem to have
no impact whatsoever (other than ridicule). These are my feeble efforts to be part
of the music.
Just how conductors get so much life and energy, beauty and harmony from a team is
truly amazing. They have within them an emotional, experiential reservoir that must
flow in a coordinated sequence, and move people collectively to a transcendent experience.
Paavo Järvi wrote: “Success as a conductor has nothing to do with movement. It has
everything to do with the persona, the personality and a persons ability to communicate.
The strength of the performance comes in conveying your involvement in the process,
rather than being a god who wields the whip with the capacity to open and close the
door. You must be someone who embraces and helps the orchestra. The most effective
leadership, to me, is the leadership that doesn’t look like leadership. …You must
be so much part of the process – so convinced of what you are doing that everyone
has no choice but to join in.”
Maybe the Burgers of Watford have forgiven or forgotten my efforts. Maybe Leslie’s
inspiration was more lasting than he could have imagined?
Thank you for being filled with God’s spirit during the last month, and for sharing
your passion. Take up the baton, lift up the trumpet, and loud let it ring – Jesus
is coming again.