A couple of years ago, 2014 I believe, a troop of Girl Scouts visited the building where I live and sang Christmas songs in the lobby–I’m told they’d done this before, but 2014 was my first year in the building. When they were done, one of my neighbors urged me to get my trumpet and return the gift. I did it, and the girls appreciated it.
Next year they came back. This time I was ready. I had my trumpet with me. When they were done singing, I got it out and played some songs for them. After I played, oh, three or four, I decided to play “My Favorite Things”–which John Coltrane had made into a jazz standard.
As I made that decision–I didn’t have a set list, but simply decided what to play song by son–I had some misgivings. Why? “My Favorite Things” is a little more complicated than most Christmas carols and I wasn’t quite sure I’d remember it correctly. Still, I wasn’t very worried. I’m a jazz musician. If things got sketchy I could make something up and things would work out.
As things worked out, the Girl Scouts had a surprise for me. It wasn’t anything I’d planned or that they’d planned. It just happened.
As soon as I started playing they started singing along. Cool! But also, Oh oh! Now the pressure was on, just a bit. Because if I wandered away from the song-as-written, I’d mess them up. And I didn’t want to do that.
Things worked out fine.