I had no plans to write today but then on Face Book I got sent a link from a friend and it raised a number of thoughts which have been swilling around for some time.
The link was to yet another Simon Cowell talent show: Britain’s Got Talent. Onto the stage walked a shy 17-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl. Without being pejorative he was fat; he says so himself. And like Susan Boyle in 2009 there was no less likely superstar.
Even before they sang Cowell was overheard to say something along the lines of it can get much worse. Yet when young Jonathan started to sing he had a voice which sounds like a young Pavarotti; powerful, resonant and bold. The audience was as moved by the performance as were all the judges.
Now I have no interest in who wins and this is not a promo for the show. What I find interesting is the power of a voice to raise spirits and make the soul soar.
I remember exactly where I was when I first heard A Bridge Over Troubled Waters. I had to stop the car and just listen to Art Garfunkel.
But that was nothing compared to the first time I heard Vissi D’arte sung by Montserrat Caballé. It had the immediate effect of making those hairs on the back of the neck stand on end. Not proverbially but actually.
There are those moments when the arts really do move us. For me its music and I understand how for others it’s the visual arts. The link in all these performances is that they are inspirational and for just a short time life’s cares are taken away and troubles of the everyday world are lifted and removed.
But then what happens when we see that the performer is also fighting a real or social handicap? Young Jonathan is shy because of his size; Susan Boyle (then) a tubby plain ‘Scottish Jane’.
And there is Andre Bocelli who is blind. I presume now that most of us have seen Andrea Bocelli & Sara Brightman sing Time to Say Goodbye. Every time I watch it I get the shivers.
All these performers and their performance lift me every time i hear them.
So here is my question.
If you knew you could do so much for anyone who heard you sing; if you knew that your voice could inspire millions to a moment of sublime happiness what would you give up?
It doesn’t matter if it’s just to your partner in a park as you walked around hand in hand or to an audience in a big venue, not for any compensation, what would you give up? Would you trade your sight to make millions happier?
For my part, I would give a lot!!!