As I look back on my life, I can’t help but remember the outreach projects, especially a mini concert, I organized with my friends. They have definitely become important part of me.
A mini concert for a cause was one of those projects which provided us the opportunity to help a woman in need of financial and moral support. She bravely fought cancer for about six years. She’s now gone, but it’s comforting to know that she appreciated all our efforts and showed her gratitude to us before she left.
“I have good news to tell you. The president has approved my recommendation for the free use of the Audio Visual Theater for your concert. That will serve as the University’s contribution to your worthy endeavor,” said the kind vice president.
I couldn’t believe my ears! Just a few days back, I didn’t know if our request for venue, or even the request to hold a concert itself inside the university, would be approved. The “By Your Side” concert–for the benefit of an employee who was diagnosed with cancer–was one of the most difficult programs to organize. It caused me a lot of sweat, tears and sleepless nights making requests, creating the concert theme and voice-over script. And it caused my friends exhausting practice sessions to make their performances awesome.
The day was December 5, 2009. The concert went very well and the performers were applauded for their numbers.
But after six performances, something awfully went wrong. At first it didn’t sink in to me, overwhelmed as I was to see long, lost friends who bought tickets to support the concert. But since I wrote the script, I knew very well that our performer’s piano number should not have lasted that long. And when our voice-over person no longer did his job, I decided to leave my seat and go to the backstage to find out what was happening.
I found the performers and concert crew agitated and at a loss, because the sound and light control system went off. The electricians told us that the whole building was in darkness and that they could no longer do anything about it.
Despite the loud pounding of our hearts, we tried to find composure in facing this dilemma.
After all our preparations, each of us could not accept that this concert would just turn into a nightmare. And so with determined heart, one of our performers asked the audience if they’d still want us to continue after informing them what had transpired.
Due to the heat and discomfort inside the theater, we didn’t expect to hear a loud “yes” from them. But that was what they shouted. Shivers ran down our spines. They didn’t just decide to stay, but they also lit the venue with their mobile phones. Because of this, our scholars and friends were able to continue performing. The audience even joined the performers in singing pop and inspirational songs.
They also showed appreciation to this song, “By Your Side (The Lord’s Message),” an original composition of the team for the concert:
By Your Side (The Lord’s Message)
Don’t feel so lonely, try not to weep
Don’t feel that your pain is far too deep
I see more than you can ever see..
Just don’t lose hope.. you can count on me.
Dark moments in life may seem unending
But there are reasons why they’re existing.
Don’t be afraid.. just hold on and be strong
You are never alone..
I’m here all along..
..to be your life’s sunshine everyday
Or a lovely song to make you gay..
To be star that can lead your way
And the friend who’ll never turn away..
I’ll keep you in the warmth of my embrace..
And see happiness reflected on your face.
For I’ll ease the pain you’re keeping inside..
You should never forget –
I’m by your side.
You may feel as if you’ve lost your way
But I’ll never let you go astray.
You should know, we’ll
always be together..
I’m by your side…to love you forever.
All our performers still did their best to showcase their talents. They were simply amazing.
A lot of “if only’s” flitted across my mind. If only the blackout didn’t happen, then the audience would have been able to see all the multimedia presentations and the effects especially prepared for the show. Also, if only the sound system didn’t fail, then the audience would have witnessed more the amazing vocals and dance numbers of the performers. If only the concert ran smoothly, then we would have been able to tell those who were not able to watch how wonderful the performances turned out to be.
But then in the midst of darkness, we saw the performers and audience bound together for a common cause.
The purpose was to help and give hope to an employee, and many others like her who are suffering from illness. For a while, we also forgot our concert theme and the reason why we composed it in the first place. But because of what happened, its meaning and its every word became real, and we realized that its messenger was very much in control of the situation–from the very start.
Amidst the darkness, His light shone through, guiding our every step, our every move… making this concert, blackout and all, surprisingly remarkable.
And way too special to forget.