Rant to Self (things I wish I could actually say)

My 5 AM (rant-to-self) to the “clever” young and clueless keyboard players in (a recent) Messiah performance:
The continuo players in a Baroque orchestra are the rhythm section of the band. We drive the orchestra. The most important relationship in a band is between the drummer and the bass player. If they don’t get a groove on the whole band sucks. It doesn’t matter how talented anybody is. If the rhythm section can’t play together the whole band sounds terrible. You, Mr. Harpsichord Player, are the drummer. The cellist is the bass player. There are actually four of us – two celli, violone, bassoon – but we play as one. Impeccably. We are like old lovers. Always sensing, always knowing. The organ is the keyboard player – essential for the harmony but the real drive comes from the bass/drum combo.
You say you’re just following the conductor – and I’m sure you are. But that’s not playing with the rest of us. There are 100 ways to interpret a conductor’s beat – especially a choral conductor’s. The real music making comes from listening and intuiting, sensing and knowing every move your fellow continuo players make. You don’t even have to be able to clearly hear everyone – you have other senses, more than the ones they teach you about in school. Use them.
Your academic achievements mean nothing here. Your cleverness means nothing here. All that matters is the groove.