We All Play The French Horn

It is not always the leader who makes the difference!

Roy Keech was an American on temporary assignment for the furniture company Herman Miller. In earlier days when the company was building its base in Europe, key employees would temporarily move to Bath, England, to help Herman Miller get up and running. Roy was one of those valued employees. His avocation was playing the French horn.

While strolling through Bath one Sunday, Roy came upon the park along the Avon River where the afternoon band concert was about to take place. He decided to join the crowd and listen. The band was late getting started, and when the conductor finally came to the podium, he announced that the French hornist wasn't there. They could not play their scheduled concert without a French horn. Could anyone in the audience fill in?

After waiting for someone else to volunteer and with great hesitation, Roy walked up to the conductor. He read through the music, picked up the band's French horn, practiced a few passages, and the concert went on. The audience appreciated the concert and Roy so much that the band ended the concert with "The Stars and Stripes Forever" to honor its new member from the states.[1]

I love that story. The band played because Roy Keech was willing to step up--as a follower!

The concert did not need a leader. Its conductor was already in place. What it lacked was a follower--someone to play the French Horn. Because of that deficiency there would be no music in the park. Band members would case their instruments and the crowd would wander off, its afternoon a little less pleasant . . . but then Roy stepped up!

It is not always the leader who makes the difference! As Max De Pree notes, "Leaders only really accomplish something by permission of the followers." [2]

Most of us lead somewhere, but all of us follow! In other words, we all play the French horn. When we do that well, the band plays, the music is sweet, people are refreshed, and God is honored. Today, be a great follower to God's glory.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Psalm 100:1-2 ESV


[1] This story is found in Leadership Jazz, by Max De Pree, pages 156-58.
[2] Leadership Jazz, page 159.