Yesterday evening I arrived at the San Miguel chapel around six. A small stage, just large enough for a guitar stand, a chair and a few candlesticks had been set up at the stairs to the altar. I was shown into a small room in the back where I could tune my guitar and wait for the performance, which was to start at seven. That room contained a number of white and purple priest’s robes and smelled of mothballs. There were boxes with signs like “Kneeling Santa: Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. There were also many boxes with signs like “Apache Nativity”, “Navajo Nativity” and “Pueblo Nativity”. A little later I saw a beam of sunlight dance across the scene above the altar:
At 18:30 the candles were lit. At 19:00 an announcement was made and while that was going on I snapped this image:
I had tested the acoustics on Tuesday Morning, but filling the chapel with so many bodies meant they would soak up a lot of the sound. Yet, as I was told by audients at the reception following the performance, in a room at the Rio Chama restaurant across the street, everyone in the room could hear the guitar. Some people reported that it sounded great even in the back. Well, churches and chapels were built to carry the priest’s voice, so this is perhaps not surprising. I played a little harder than I would have liked, because I was a little worried about the sound of the guitar carrying to the back of the room, but it was a total pleasure to play for such an attentive audience.
I was asked to perform at San Miguel again next year and am considering that. I noticed one double outlet near the front of the chapel… I could bring the Neumann microphone, my Martech pre-amp and the 722 recorder, which records all the way up to 24/192k, and record a live album. The chapel receives the money from ticket sales and I get to record a solo live album… everybody wins!