When the music starts playing and the playing field is silenced
Drum beats and the scrunch of newly mown grass underfeet
Palms slightly wet from equal halves nervous perspiration and acute anticipation
Gripping icy cold microphones waiting for the solo sequence
Eyes traversing passages of music, breathing in time echoing to either side
Raw numb fingers on steel strings, pick trembling ever so slightly
Blinding lights reminding us we're on display
An undertone beyond that swells and ebbs, a sign of the crowd awaiting
There have been moments when we skim effortlessly (it seems) through the opening strains, when the guitar riff heralds an anticipatory applause, when dancers weave in and out in perfect timing to the music, when the drum solos herald a faultless march and the formation square stays tight through a full rotation, expanding out into a 6 pointed star, when we don't even notice we're gliding through the most difficult passages because it all feels so natural and in tune with each other, when the stage turns from a living room into a busy bar in a heartbeat and the video transitions go off without a audio/video hitch, stage helpers running through with no wasted effort, people at their markers on time and anticipating the key change, when the baton is caught after a 20ft high throw and the ribbons and flags cut through the air, biting and weaving at exactly the same moment, when the last lilting woodwind passage melts into a perfect decrescendo, when your entire body trembles from being emotionally caught up in the song/dance/performance; a frisson of excitement from being in the zone, when the audience is forgotten and perfection suddenly moves from the realm of impossibility to being tantalisingly within reach.
Was listening to the OST of Wicked - and it brought back memories of being in musicals and military band performances, of being a cog in a well-oiled machine.