The lights were on, the stage packed and hundreds of people sat in anticipation. For months, volunteers, family and friends had supported performers to practice every week.

Last night, S was on stage with an amazing group of people for Music is Magic at the London Palladium. It is the second time he has had this incredible opportunity. I wrote about the first time here.

Within ten minutes of the performance starting, he was shouting and upset. All the songs he had sung in rehearsal with exuberance and perfect time were now drowned out by groans and a very different kind of shouting.

So, he was removed and sat back stage listening to his ipod. We decided it was best for everyone to leave in the interval and came home early.

Did it go to plan? No.

Was it a success?

Well that depends how you measure success.

If you feel success is hitting every note, being pitch perfect and maintaining an entertainer’s smile then, no.

By that standard, success was always out of reach.

If success is giving something your best shot. Showing up and seeing how it goes. If it is the hundreds of people who worked hard to create a unique and powerful show. If it’s the amazing relationship Sam has developed with Ellie as they sit next to each other every Saturday (see below the rehearsal this weekend); singing, hitting drums and shaking tambourines. If success is recognising hard work, stepping out of your comfort zone and giving it a go. If it is learning from a challenging experience…then YES.

A hundred times Yes.

Look of successEllie was no less amazing.

We were no less proud of Sam, he had worked just as hard.

Together they are still remarkable.

Last night has many similarities to our lives.

If I spend every day measuring life by everyone else’s (and once my own) yard stick, then I will always be failing, I will struggle to experience success.

But if I learn a new way of seeing, living and measuring life then, with a little help, I can find success in all kinds of unexpected places.

And, it takes a village – a VERY LARGE village.

Thank you to all the villagers in the Music Man Project and Mencap.

Last night was a huge success.


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Thanks, Rachel