One thing that came as a surprise to me on moving to my new parish in Headingley was the St.Michael’s Church Stage Group. This has a long history of putting on entertaining and popular pantomimes in January to help disperse the winter blues.
This year, however, their regular pianist was ill and so they asked me if I would like to stand in. I had been trained as a classical musician, but here the pianist has to keep at least one eye on the stage, repeating the intro until the actors pick it up, adding extra bars if the action is still going on, or cutting things short if the action is faster than expected. And then there are all the ways that the show changes from performance to performance, a lot of it depending on the reactions of the audience.
A friend of mine is fond of saying that life is a bit like performing in a jazz group. We never quite know what life is going to throw at us. I have found the community of Headingley to be like that, too: Not quite knowing what is going to happen next, but always being ready to join in with the music and make the best of it.
Revd. Tony Whatmough and Meg
St Michael's Church, Headingley