We went to Isaac’s junior high choir concert and it was a wonder: the music choices were varied and upbeat, the choreography was complex, and the pacing was good. All this, and with apparent near-perfect cooperation from what must have been a couple of hundred kids.
There was just one weakness in the performance, but it was a big one: you couldn’t hear the singing. I had forgotten how self-conscious and reserved kids in this age range can be, even when they’re ostensibly singing and performing–perhaps especially when they’re singing and performing. Also, the soundtrack was much too loud. Mabel was disgusted when all the kids started singing and it could have been a pantomime. Her disgust was understandable, since her third grade put on a couple of performances last year and had two or three times the volume and freedom of movement as the junior high students. But today I did tell Mabel to stop expressing her criticisms so vocally. Rose, on the other hand, said, “This is a great show!” Hazel was mesmerized for about five minutes, after which Dean entertained her by making a pen peek out of his fist and then hide. Henry liked the show at first, too, but about halfway through started complaining that he was hungry and wanted to go home.
Still, I really was impressed by how well-behaved all the performers were and how much they seemed to enjoy themselves. Their director is working miracles; now they just need to figure out how to turn down the volume on the P.A. system.
Another miracle is that earlier this year when I asked him, Ike had been very firm that he had no interest in trying out for the audition choir next year: “There will be too many practices, and it just doesn’t interest me.” But that was before the choir director worked her magic. Now he has auditioned and is planning to participate in whichever choir she puts him in. He doesn’t seem to remember ever having had an objection. And he did a great job in the concert today. It’s funny because Ike could be the poster child for reserve and terseness, and he has a horror of musicals and acting–when we watched the movie “Enchanted” and the princess sang and danced through Central Park, he squirmed, covered his ears, and finally ran from the room. But I guess when he’s one of many in a choir, it’s somehow different.
After the concert we went out for sandwiches, and, as I often do when my kids are gathered in one place and holding (relatively) still, I stared at these beautiful children, with their harmonious variations of coloring and size, and wondered how they came to be mine. Moments like these make me want to deserve them. My days are still full of changing diapers, wiping up spills, and endlessly trying to keep up with laundry, but even Hazel’s not far from walking and talking, then going off to school. Soon I’ll find myself sitting quietly next to Dean in concerts, and wondering where my noisy babies went.