It was a success.
Members of our stake (the name for a number of congregations coming together as one group in a designated geographical area) tend to be perpetually late. Events start late, people come in late, we don't know who started it, but it is annoying to the small percentage of people who are on time (early) and just sitting in uncomfortable chairs looking at the clock wondering when something will begin.
I knew the concert would be brief (it ended up being 45 minutes, I was shooting for 1 hour), and that our talent would work really hard to make this a great performance. I did not want anyone who intended on coming to a concert, to miss it because of this perpetual punctuality (or lack thereof) issue.
My plan was to advertise the concert as beginning at 6:30, but intentionally begin it at 7. The idea was to bulk up the audience in that half hour and to avoid clock checking, provide them with a pre-reception. We had artwork to look at that the children had drawn, light refreshments, live carolers singing, Christmas decorations, a table with information about the church, and a host of ushers to greet people and help them find seats.
When I arrived at 6 there were already quite a few people there. And by 6:30 it was pretty full, but when I saw a large amount of people walk in at about 10 minutes to 7 (20 minutes late according to the flyer), I was so happy. These people got to see the entire concert, and we were not interrupted by latecomers noisily finding a seat.
So, the pre-reception was the first success of the evening.
The second success was the concert itself. The performers all looked smashing, and they performed with all their souls. Many people performing and in attendance could really feel a strong spirit. When the concert was over, a few of the ladies in the adult chorus had tears in their eyes, and I could feel it too. The kids chorus gave me the BEST hugs when it was over. I am really going to miss them. I took time early on to learn all of their names, and try to get to know them, and I will miss seeing them every Saturday morning, as will my daughter. She made great friends with some of the older girls, who were great examples to her and took her under their wing.
At the past two stake events that occurred, I made a note of how many people were in attendance. In July it was 67. I was really concerned that we would only have around that many show up, so I have been praying for many months that we could have a great audience...and sure enough, there were too many to count, and even a row of people standing in the back.
For me personally, I felt fine about my performance. At first, it was a really foreign feeling to be on a stage with lights. I settled into it during my third song...it took THAT long. I am glad to have it under my belt, because I feel more prepared for my "holiday tour" as my friends and family keep calling it. I sort of look at last night as a preview, like in the theatre when we have at least a week (some shows take months) to get used to being in front of an audience before it REALLY counts.
Today (the morning after) at church I had a lot of people tell me how great the concert was, and evidentally word had spread about the CD and I had a lot of folks interested today. I didn't have enough in my bag to go around. Next week when I am away, my business manager will have to handle that for me. Thanks honey!
All of you who wished me well in comments and through email/phone calls, I really appreciate you remembering and caring enough to say so. I could not have been happier about it, and it would not have been what it was without the commitment from everyone involved, especially my co-director, who will remain nameless to protect her top secret identity.