Here is what it felt like: By the end of the song my heart was pounding and my entire being was overwhelmed with pleasure. It was twenty minutes before I was back down to a reasonable level of stimulation. Afterwards I kept grabbing people and saying, "Did I imagine that? Did something just happen?" The answer was always, "You did not imagine that, something just happened", but I was pretty selective in who I was grabbing.
For example Rick, who said, "Steven, these are your people."
"My people?" said I, incredulously.
"There are folks at an Ale who will head over when they hear you leading a song, because it's you who is leading it."
This is probably not true. Rick, I should point out, is the definition of Too Kind. Also it's Rick himself who will head over when I start to lead a song, not so much because it is me who is leading it but because somebody is leading a song at all and Rick lives for that. I spend a lot of time at the Ale sitting down with Rick and just singing. Anything. Oldies. Broadway. Anything. Rick himself is one of the best song leaders I know, and a harmony singer who makes you want to live forever in the chorus.
This is why, at the end of skit night when the Ale crew was clearing away the chairs from the dining hall in preparation for the dancing, I walked over to Rick and started to sing "A Soldier and a Sailor", which has become a standard of mine and which people like to sing. The melody is that of "Pleasant and Delightful" which many folks know and which is notably easy to pick up and harmonize. The chorus is also a breeze to pick up. The final chorus repeats the words "May there never be another war" three times in chord-wallowing harmony, which right now people really really want to sing.
But you don't just stand up and start singing, as if to perform and draw attention to yourself. It's not about yourself, it's about the song. Which is why I walked over to Rick, because I knew it would be fun to sing with Rick and then anybody else could join us or not. I do this all the time.
I started singing and Rick raised his eyebrows and splashed on a big smile and started singing with me and within seconds, within only a few notes, people started to surround us and join in. Everybody was just bursting to sing, after their long day and long sitting at skit night. This was good and pleasant and I was happy.
I saw quite quickly that Something Special Was Up, because my friends started to make their way to me, to surround me up close and sing and support me. Suddenly Bob was standing at my left, and Deb was standing in front of me. Then Susie and Howard, people from other teams who love to sing, were standing to my right. And then I saw Shannon make her way into my range of vision. Everywhere I looked there were people I loved, and many more people filling the space and gathering round.
The more that people gave of their singing energy, the more I had to give back. The room filled to the rafters with voice, with mine cutting through to set the pace. I actually started to shake a little, from pleasure. I looked over at Bob and he returned a great big grin and a head nod, an unspoken, "Yes, something is happening".
The first verses are fun and splashy: Let us pray for some beer. Let us pray for some cash. Let us pray for the Queen. Then comes the final verse, which I sing with a bit more decorum:
"Now the last thing that we'll pray for we will pray for some peace;
From China to Chile, from Greenland to Greece.
And if we have one year, may we also have ten;
May there never be another war!"
Said the sailor, "Amen!"
I realized that my hands were clenched tight and my arm muscles were fully tensed as we sang this last verse and chorus.
Oh my gosh. Just oh my gosh.