ONE WEEK AGO, on a beautiful clear Saturday morning in Vermont, the Essential Prayers Project realized its dream to debut playing house concerts.
We want to play for smaller audiences. We want to see everyone’s faces and talk afterwards like we did something together. The old 4th wall of music, where everyone sits quietly and listens then leaves, is outmoded. There is an imbalance of perceived roles and their importance. To attend a live concert is a magnificently generous thing to do. To listen and respond from within, to show on your face that response, to breathe in sync with others in the room (because that is what happens)—these actions become huge in the face of our increasingly screen-based lives. User-friendly means that a machine has been programmed to resemble the depth and detail of human response—but still imperfectly. Nothing beats the grace and finesse of actual human interaction!
And this audience delivered. They listened so intently we could hear them listening. They carried us when we got nervous and made mistakes with the newness. Some people even cried. Wow. We felt it all. Exhilarating.