I have had some amazing moments as a christian musician traveling around the world. Like the time in South Africa when I was presented with a home stereo system to plug my keyboard and vocal mic into (didn't happen!), or putting my keyboard on saw-horses to hold it up (Eastern Europe), playing off the back of a semi-truck's trailer as a stage (Azerbaijan), or using an old-out-of tune stage piano when the 220V in Nottingham, England fried my American keyboard and modules…!
I thought I had seen it all, but no - I was wrong once again! This gem came from Torre Pelice, Italy, in an old Salvation Army Hall. It was the going away party for the local Captain and his family, and we had just showed up as our first visiting Sunday - one third of us from our Incarnate School having been assigned to this church as "our local fellowship" for the next three months. When they found out that I played the piano, they were on me like ants on a picnic - "Brother, we need you. You can play for us, yes?" Actually, I had been forewarned by a lovely Dutch Omer serving here who attends the Salvation Army with her family - and I had agreed, as long as I didn't have to "read" music, and only if there were "Chord Charts". I was told there would be.
What I wasn't expecting, was all lyrics in Italian (honestly, I should have known that part), but the kicker was the chord charts - they were all done in "Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do" (you might recognize that from a famous movie made in the 1960's!)
Anyway, it was the most amazing moment - it was the exact parallel to what a translator must do with language on the spot - train my mind instantly to read Do = "C", La = "A", Fa#m = "F#m". Oh, and try to keep up the the obligatory Salvation Army Brass Band that was "bringing it" with amazing gusto and enthusiasm! Man did we make joyful noise! And the people sang!
What an experience! Overall it did go well, even though I did hit a few wrong notes, was humbled once again, and will never forget my first cross-cultural musical experience in Italy!
Tutto lode a Dio!