When the Stars Come Out!


My bucket list gets longer and longer.  On my list is to hear music in as many outdoor venues as possible. So far, I have enjoyed many nights at the Hollywood Bowl and the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, Red Rocks Amphitheater near Denver, Ravinnia in the Chicago area, Blossom in Cleveland, Tanglewood in Massachusetts and Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts in the Washington, DC area.  And, one amazing evening, I attended the Santa Fe Opera in one of the most beautiful settings of all!  I believe, at least for me, there is something magical about great music and nature combining for a memorable experience!

Recently, I was delighted to attend a performance at Wolf Trap by Straight No Chaser, an a capella singing group who started performing at the Indiana University.  Summer in DC is hot and humid and we frequently get a storm in the early evening.    We sat on the lawn and enjoyed a picnic dinner before the show.  The crowd got really lucky that night and the singers were able to get the entire concert in before the thunder and lightning started—in fact, when the lightening started, I thought it was part of the show!  We got totally soaked getting to the car but it was so worth it to see and hear this amazing group of ten men perform in the beautiful Wolf Trap setting.

Maybe you’ve seen them on PBS or been fortunate enough like I have been twice, to see them in concert but if you haven’t seen them, go on YouTube and find one of their many videos to give yourself a treat.

I honestly don’t know how they do it—to perform for a crowd of thousands with just their voices is so amazing to me.  One of them said they are really tired of people saying that they perform without music—no, they perform without instruments—but  their voices are amazing.  I am sure they have some sort of way to keep them in tune and on track but to the audience it just looks as if it is effortless.

What a wonderful example of a successful team!  In fact, during the show I saw at Wolf Trap one of the performers fell to the stage. Of course, I thought it was part of the act but when everyone stopped singing and helped him off the stage; it was obvious he was not feeling well.  Seconds later the group came back on stage and apologized and said Jerome was ok and would be back.  He did come back shortly and did several solos and seemed fine!  But while he was gone, the others filled in for him without missing a beat.

A well functioning team can do that—pick up the slack for someone who is having a bad day or bad year!  A team can and should support the members and know that if they themselves have to step away for some reason, others can pick up the slack.  I also love that the members of the Straight No Chaser team honor each other’s strengths.  Some of the group do solo numbers with back up from their team while others seem ok with always doing back up! Organizations need both kinds of people—those who can lead and those who are willing and able to play a supporting role.

Some teams come together naturally while others take a bit more work.  Straight No Chaser is a good example of a talented group of singers working together as a team and entertaining lots of people when they perform!
Consider visiting an outdoor venue near you this summer to experience the magic of music under the stars!  I have a few more places to see in the US and maybe I will add other outdoor venues around the world to my ever longer bucket list!

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