Good Monday Morning!
This holiday season I had the privilege of seeing a number of live performances including Yo-Yo Ma, Handel’s Messiah, and The Vinyl Cafe Christmas Concert. There is nothing like these types of experiences to bring you into the context and beauty of this season, as well as to inspire you as you see other professionals perform with such excellence.
The completion of a concert and the end of a year have some unique elements in common: we anticipate and know there is a ritual that occurs upon completion of a live event, even ones that are not that great.
My observation is that an applause takes on it’s own role, and impacts both the performer and the audience. Ovation originated in the ancient Roman times and was granted when a war was won or when a conflict was resolved. The War General would ride in with a wreath around his neck, and the people would honour him. Whether it be a first century General, Stuart McLean, Yo-Yo Ma or the entire Handel’s Messiah Choir, they all beam with joy when they receive the applause.
You may say, “But Alan, they are paid to perform.” Yes, while that is true and we have prepaid for this experience, the feedback loop that happens between the audience and the performer is amazing to observe and to be a part of .
There is some interesting science around the applause. There is social pressure to applaud it is a kind of “social contagion”. It is how both artists and ideas gain momentum. A modern day example would be a “like” on Facebook. Neither performers or companies with a Facebook page are operating free of charge, but the gift that they receive from the audience and the opportunity for the audience to reward the performer above economic is, well, simply priceless.
As we end off this year, I want to applaud you. For the work you have done. Day in and day out. For showing up and doing your best. For helping people with their health, finances, marketing, engineering, for keeping us warm and safe, and providing food for our bellies or ideas for our brains.
For those that have moved in to new careers, switched roles, completed a degree, started to write a book, launched a new business, took on a new project, retired, were promoted or taking a paternity year to spend with a new child…
Three cheers, along the road with you!