Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Another rite of passage

It is important to journal just a bit about the 7th and 8th grade choir concert that we attended this weekend or it could simply disappear from memory and that would be sad.

I spent the first whole song of the concert being impressed and trying to count the number of boys in the concert choir. It was amazing to me to see so many angelic looking boys singing and participating. I shifted in my seat and strained my neck trying to count the boys but the director kept me from seeing all of them at one time and I kept losing count. I was completely impressed that a choir program could attract that large sum of boys!

Between songs, I whispered to Aunt Kathi something like, “Isn’t that incredible that so many boys participate in this program?” That is when she scooped me. Kent and Steven had wanted to make sure that there was no doubt about why they were in concert choir. At their private school, in 7th and 8th grade you have options. You can be in choir, band or orchestra OR you can take a music appreciation class where you listen to Bach and other classical composers and take tests. After looking over the situation, Kent and Steven, and apparently many other 7th and 8th grade boys recognized that choir was the best option. However, they did not perform as if it were a compulsory function. They sounded, well, pretty good—I want to be careful not to overstate this.

Oh, and I had mentioned on another post that uniforms have not changed—the black pants and white shirts still work. I could not help but notice a distinct difference this time. Now all girls, each and every one have their blouses out. I asked Kathi if she thought old people like me could still tuck sometimes--like under a sweater. Nope, it just won’t do. So I discreetly, I think, untucked. For the record, I am done tucking.

Besides the large male population, there was something else that I really like about this group. They are teaching the kids about singing parts--soprano, alto, tenor and bass. Each Sunday as I stand next to or near the 14, 13 or 12 year old grandsons, I am conscious that when I harmonize, they may be thinking that I do not know the tune of the songs we are singing. I sometimes, sing more softly or struggle with the higher melody line because I don’t want my grandkids to say about me, “Bless her, she just can’t carry a tune.” (I did hear a similar comment--not by my grandkids--but it did scar me--about a man that was clearly singing tenor.) In my defense, long ago, before overhead screens, when I was just a girl in school, we were taught to harmonize. I sang alto in a girls trio coached by our music teacher--and we performed for groups like the Kiwanis and the Rotary. Attending the concert gave me a bit more confidence this week and I was so happy that I even harmonized while singing “Happy Birthday” around the Sunday dinner table although I probably was pushing it a bit to do that. It probably won't happen again for awhile.

The Jazz Band, however, is a select group. They audition and make/win a place in the group. This group was worth the price of admission. Okay, so tickets really weren’t required but this group really could charge something and people would come. The baritone sax was featured several times. I thought perhaps it would be nice to get to know that boy because I am sure there will be many someday that will boast, “I’ve known him since junior high!”

The little drummer, too, was a delight to watch! He was all over the place and his mouth was contorted in concentration and effort. It was a very physical performance! Unfortunately, you can see from this video that I had difficulty watching him as much as I would have liked due to a large head in front of me.

The glimpses that I got were great. Okay, so I couldn’t help but remember when my son, Brad, and son Andy’s friend, Ken, played drums in jazz band. Those were good memories. I remembered how their mouths always worked when they were concentrating as well. And I will just say, they were soooo cute!

And my grandkids—only on a blog that they do not read can I loudly proclaim, “They were adorable.”

Ahhh junior high concerts, they do bring out the best.


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