All Good Gifts

Original Cast of Godspell on Today Show

Original Cast of Godspell on Today Show

I mentioned yesterday that I was in a production, “Godspell” in 1976, when I was in college.  This was a musical by Stephen Schwartz and a book by John-Michael Tebelak.  It was a defining show for me in that it was really the first time I believed I had talent, and it was, overall, the first time I felt accepted by a group for myself. I almost always felt I fell in the shadow of others, and was the tag-along. That still happened a bit, but I spoke up and a change occurred: I was heard.

It was a good period for me, but I got cocky and full of myself in the process, so I learned, but I could have learned so much more. One thing that I see, now, is that while I sang a really beautiful song in the show as my solo…I did not feel the words. I was much more concerned about singing it well, not what it was about (kinda like what a lot of today’s pop music is about, IMO).

Yesterday’s post made me think about that, the difference about how I’d approach the song now, with my singing voice shot/untrained, then when I was 19 and wanting applause and acceptance.

If you are unfamiliar with the song, here are the lyrics, with all copyrights due to Mr. Schwartz:

“We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land..
But it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand..
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain…
The breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain…

All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above
So thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love…

We thank thee then, O Father, for all things bright and good,
The seed-time and the harvest, our life, our health, our food,
No gifts have we to offer for all thy love imparts
But that which thou desirest, our humble thankful hearts!

All good gifts around us
Are sent from Heaven above..
So thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love..

I really wanna thank you Lord!”

It’s a beautiful song, simple lyrics. I know I did not invest anything behind the song beyond trying to hit the notes, staying on beat, coming in at the right time, etc. But the last night…that last performance I sang my heart out.  That was the night the moonlight appeared to form a cross in the sky around a pretty bright moon (see yesterday). I know I felt something different that show, and it came back to me that others felt it too,  in comments from some cast members, the musical director, and from some audience members. That last performance is a memory I still carry, and I’m sorry I let it slip away for so long.

I’m seeing that what I invest into any project, no matter what it is, if my heart is not really in it, if I don’t really understand the why of it,  then I am not doing myself or the project, or other people, any real service at all. So…I’m trying to figure out what my place is now, where am I going…

Thirty-seven years later, and I still want to give thanks to everyone involved in the show and our audiences.

Love, Love, Love to all of the cast, Dr. Brumm, Doug, and all others, still, so many years later. I hope I can still do these gifts justice.

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About StuHN

I am a creative individual with many areas of passion: Professional Storyteller; NYS Certified Drama Specialist/Educator; Professional Development Coordinator & Facilitator; Workshop Leader; sometime Puppeteer; Playwright; Director; Performer; Teaching Artist; and sometimes more.

Posted on January 8, 2013, in Caring, Family, Friends, Healing, Inspiration, Love, Meditations, Prayers, Support, Transformation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Great story, Stuart.
    I have just reconnected with a director who took a great deal of interest in a pain in the neck kid from some 50+ years ago. He wrote plays and musicals that let me learn the craft, taught me a little piano playing, and generally changed my feelings about where I was (in so many ways). Kudos to Eliot Dorfman, as well.- who may well be reading this piece, too!

  2. This is a beautiful song and I am sure you did a wonderful job singing it. I love to read about your memories. I started thinking about the musicals that I was in….as part of the choir in high school. I also remember watching my daughter perform in musicals during her high school years. I especially remember the year my daughter’s school performed the musical Oklahoma….I don’t think we really appreciate these exeriences until we look back and smile.

    • I wish we had a recording, but whatever was done didn’t turn out too well (ancient tech). I don’t even have photos of that show, which I’m really sorry about.

  3. It is a beautiful song – I didn’t know it and I am sure that it was a privilege to be able to sing it in such a production. What a wonderful memory!

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