Middle School Spring Concert

The Middle School band, chorus, and strings ensembles gathered tonight in the Blue Gym for the second concert of the year. As in the fall, I was gratified to see so many parents out. I know they come to hear their own children sing and play, but while they are there they hear the others and the clap for them as well.

These concerts are new this year. It's a mark of our progress in the arts that we are holding these. The students and teachers are hard on themselves--I congratulated one after the program and she said, "We were rough. We'll be better by the spring concert." You gotta love that: good enough for me to enjoy, but not good enough for the performers to rest on their laurels.

The strings played Shostakovitch and "Danny Boy." The band played Crugar and Randy Newman. I love that variety, the mix of the pious and the playful, the ethnic and the contemporary.

Kudos go to Janet Ray, the choral director, for pulling the kids together into something like the finale, Gershwin's "Fascinating Rhythm." To Katie Woodrum, for moving the band to a new level. And to Nancy Brooks and Mary Fran Boyce for putting our small but talented string ensemble through their paces. And to a great supporting cast of Donna Mutter, Bob Mutter, Susan Mullis, and Dave Asay.

I heard Dr. Boyce talking to one of her students after the performance. "We've been working on listening to the others. When you're in middle school, you tend to be in your own world. I was much worse when I was young. The teacher used to call me down all the time. One time she called me down when I wasn't even in the room--she just assumed that I was not paying attention."

Learning to play well and to listen to others. That's a great summation of what middle school is all about.

One of the highlights of the evening for me: When seniors Katie Laffoon and Sarah Hand stood up together to sing "For Good" from Wicked. It's not, I think, an easy song, and they managed to take that beautiful bull by the horns and pull it off well. What was especially touching to me: to see those seniors up there, symbols of what these middle schoolers can become. And I know a little of the back story on this one: Katie and Sarah know what they were singing about. Their friendship has indeed been "for good." The hug at the end of their song was not contrived.


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