A few friends had asked how I wanted to celebrate my birthday this year and what I wanted as a present. Having spent my twentyfirst birthday in the faraway land of Wales with only a couple of new found friends and housemates, I toyed with the idea of having a celebration, inviting friends and family. However, seeing that most of my close friends were overseas, I scrapped the idea.
I’m truly blessed to be born into a relatively well-off family, having my needs and (some) wants fulfilled. Therefore, I told myself that as a birthday present this year, I wanted to give back to others as I have freely received. Being a music student, what else could I do but share the joy of music with others? With Christmas around the corner as well, the idea of playing for hospices came to mind. Through this, a more regular platform for volunteering could be set up.
And then the perfect partner-in-crime came along. He could play the violin and piano, was interested in volunteering, and had the same initials as me (: Thus, JR² was born! Emails were sent out to hospices, and by the grace of God, we had three different places to play in on three different days. Selecting the repertoire proved to be a little bumpy, but we had that solved too. The only problem was that of the lack of time for rehearsal. We were both busy in our own ways, and could only rehearse on the day of the first gig! We somehow got through that.
The number of audience seemed to grow in the three days we played. On the first day we played in a corridor to a transient audience of nurses serving dinner and warded patients. On the second, we were “upgraded” to a living-room-style day care centre. The keyboard had no pedal (panic!!) and scores were flying all over the place. However, damage control was pretty good and all was at peace (: Today was the best, we played in a chapel filled with people in wheel-chairs! We even had to play some songs without scores or sight-read because of requests from the patients!
An 83-year-old lady happily sung along to our songs. Another lady (in a dialect that I could barely understand or decipher), wished us well. Many others clapped along. The best part about all this? Seeing the gratitude and the pure joy on the faces of the nurses and the patients we played for. Such a memorable experience, such a priceless birthday wish fulfilled!
Today is Christmas eve. Christmas, when God sent his son to live on this world with us, and to die for our sins some thirty years later. His love, the best present of all. Why not share a little love this Christmas to someone in need?