Monday, August 27, 2012

"I'll Do it When I'm Ten" - Music at SVS

Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.
            - Plato 

It was the spring of 2011 and we received in the mail an invitation to a picnic lunch and music show at SVS.  We were eager to see and hear more, and Allison insisted on attending.  "Will you be singing in the show?" I asked her as I listened to her adorable voice booming in the back seat of the car on the way to school one morning.  "I could," she told me, "one of the big kids heard me singing to my ipod and told me I should sing that song about fireflies, but I'm scared, I don't want to."  Then she thought for a moment, "I'll do it when I'm ten," she added certainly.  Okay then, I thought, I'll have to wait. Too bad.

On the day of the picnic I quickly settled down in front of the deck off the music barn.  The students had already begun their talent show.  The crowd of parents and alumni were all smiles that day, and it felt nice to be a part of the larger community of SVS.  Munching on my pasta salad and chicken prepared by the "food corps" I listened and watched something that truly took my breath away...

This boy, about fifteen or sixteen years old.  He played at least three or four different instruments, and sang.  He did not do this in just one band, no, he played in several different bands made up of many different students.  That was when it dawned on me that he was not the only one doing this.  An older teenage girl got up to sing, it was clearly her performance, but behind her was this boy, and several others who had played in many different formations on the stage.  Then two young students, friends of Alli's, about seven years old at the time, got up to sing as well.  The girls sang their song a capella.  The show moved smoothly, students of all ages rotating around the stage, most playing more than just one instrument.  I was awe struck.

I was inspired that day, hopeful about what the future would bring.  Here were these kids, all different age ranges, supporting each other.  I listened to them as they would walk by, discussing their performance on stage.  Their natural dialogue was full of self-critique and surrounded by voices of thoughtful peer support.  I had never seen, or heard, anything like it before.

A year passed and I asked Alli again if she was ready to perform.  "No," she answered me as her singing echoed through the car, "I told you last year, I'll do it when I'm ten." 

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