Being in the musical moment

I’m not sure how to explain the experience I just had.

I went to a folksinging song circle this evening held by the Eugene Folklore Society. I had a vague idea of what to expect, having gone to some Golden Link Folk Singing Society and festival singarounds in Rochester. But, still, you never know.

So I toted my guitar and songbook and followed the directions to a strangers house. (Don’t worry, it all turns out well.)

As I walked in the door, a woman was sitting in the stairway, tuning her guitar. I was in the right place. Good. In the living room, a dozen people sat around in a circle – only two with guitars, which surprised me. I quickly realized I was bereft of a copy of Rise Up Singing, which everyone else had. Ah, so it’s a sing out of the song book song circle, not a bring your stuff and we’ll join in if we can song circle. Which is fine. Someone had an extra copy to lend me.

I’m terrible at guessing people’s ages and heights. But I think it’s fairly safe to say I was the youngest in the room by a good two decades. Don’t other 30-something-year-old women like folk music?

We took turns going around the circle, picking songs from the book, everyone singing them together and the guitars all chiming in. With two song leaders across the room, I quietly strummed away on the songs with chords that I remembered.

I managed to pick a song each time it came around to me (from the book I was unfamiliar with). Fortunately, the Beatles were in it. And I found myself singing songs I didn’t know. Or didn’t know I knew.

As the evening went on, there came a point where I found myself singing and playing a song I’d never heard before — as if I knew it somehow. I don’t even remember what the song was now. But I noticed, in that moment, that all that existed was that moment, that song, all our voices moving together in the same direction.

It was like I found my way inside the music, into the notes and melody and rhythm of it. I stopped questioning it, stopped mentally critiquing my performance, stopped worrying and doing anything other than just being. Right then. Right for that moment.

It’s been a while since I’ve become so absorbed in something that times stops and flows by at the same time. I think I’ll go back next month. And get my own copy of the song book.