Nearly Famous
- by Malc Seaman -
...more True Stories...

In 1987 it was possible to appear at the Festival Hall and still go un-noticed. Play to crowds of thousands - receive a standing ovation, but afterwards, just slip back into obscurity.
OK, I'm not talking about London's Festival Hall. I was referring the one in Basildon*. And that's not there anymore anyway. They pulled it down to make way for yet more eating houses - more bars. Oh, and a cinema!

But fame was never going to come my way. Or the way of the fifty-or-so Christians that appeared there with me.

Adrian Snell, a Christian musician was touring the UK performing the songs from his latest album 'Alpha & Omega' and at each town he played in he enlisted the help of singers (and aspiring singers) from local churches to form the choir to sing the backing vocals to the music. I volunteered.

A local musical director was appointed to lead us and we set out to learn our parts. Every week for a couple of months, me and a couple from our fellowship spent hours croaking, creaking and spluttering as we rehearsed the songs we would sing live on stage.

At first it was difficult to remember the parts we had to learn, the harmonies - the words. But by the time we due to appear and the Saturday had arrived...we were ready!

For our last rehearsal on stage that day we met for the first time, Roger Mayor, who would lead us in the live performance, and Adrian Snell. Both Roger and Adrian made us, nervous amateurs, feel very relaxed and at ease.

Almost at the last moment, with only a couple of hours before the performance on stage, it was discovered that the girl who was to sing a solo during the performance, had been delayed and was not going to be able to appear. Potentially, a real problem. But the Lord knows the end from the beginning and in His foreknowledge he had also enlisted for the choir a young girl who herself, was embarking on a musical career - Maggie Dawn.
Maggie stepped forward and offered to sing the part. With only a couple of hours to learn the part, it looked a pretty tall order.

Maggie stepped up on stage for a 'try-out'. I remember praying "Lord, just be with Maggie and help her sing the part, help her to glorify Your name."

Maggie sang..and the part was hers.

Just before we went on stage we all spent a wonderful time in prayer before the Lord. Adrian was a very humble man who gratefully acknowledged God as his sufficiency and we committed the whole evening into the Lord's hands.
What else could we do?

There we were, a group of nervous Christians, most of whom had never been on a stage, or performed before a live audience, about to go out and sing in front of a couple of thousand people.

But when the time came for us to open our mouths and sing we opened our mouths and praised God. We sang the parts we had rehearsed, but the sound that came out was sheer praise and worship. God, by His Holy Spirit moved upon each one on that stage and the audience were moved. (I know that because my wife was sitting in the audience and she told me afterwards how much the whole thing moved her.)

As we sang the words to the closing song it was clear that God was touching the hearts of people both in the audience and on the stage and tears were evident as brothers and sisters in Christ hugged one another and wept with one another.

I have no doubt that that evening many who were not Christians were moved to examine their lives before God.
I have no doubt that the words of the songs we sung spoke to the hearts of many.
And I have no doubt that I shall never be famous.

But then I would rather see people, who were otherwise going to a Christless eternity, come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, than to be famous - or even nearly famous....




*Basildon is in Essex, England