My entire day yesterday was spent in rest to prepare for my planned 30 days of 30 celebration last night. Ready for it?
I attended a good friend’s elementary school band and orchestra concert AND I helped tune/work with the beginning and advanced flautists.
Doesn’t sound like it would require a full day’s prep, but let me tell you, the prep was absolutely necessary. Here’s the scene I walked into:
- A confusing parking lot … I was so focused on deciding where I could actually park, that I didn’t realize I pulled up right next to my friend, sitting in her SUV. In fact, I didn’t know she had been in her car until a few minutes later, when she entered the building and told me, “You could have parked next to me, you know.”
- A large high school where I got to explore and figure out where the students were being held pre-show.
- And then, the best part, walking into a rehearsal room with 40-60 fourth and fifth graders, beginners and advanced, warming up their band instruments (the orchestra students were one room over).
All this—in my first 15 minutes.
I texted a friend, “What was I thinking?”, and that was precisely how I felt. The onslaught of tones as the students messed around on their instruments and chatted with each other, and the loudness as the adult in the room spoke (tried to) over them paralyzed me. It’s been years since I’ve been around that many 9 and 10 year olds at one time, and I’d forgotten their sheer energy and joy for life and how it compounds exponentially when you gather a group of them.
Enough about my upon-arrival-angst. Here are some vignettes of the best moments:
- I was tuning the flutes (a challenge, when they don’t really all know how to blow into their instrument with a steady breath) and one of the leaders of the advanced flutes shut himself into a locker. We were only standing in a hallway and I only had 9 kids; it shouldn’t have been an out-of-control situation. And yet, there I stood, paused from tuning, because we were in a high school (that obviously wasn’t their home school) after hours, and all I could think was, “How the hell am I going to get him out of the locker/explain to my friend how I locked up her best student/couldn’t the students stay put for 35.3 seconds so I could tune all of them?” All that flashed through my mind in one second as the other kids giggled uncontrollably at Justin’s feat. I handed my flute to the girl I was working with, walked over, examined locker, and realized that (phew!) it wasn’t locked: all we had to do was pop up the handle. Problem solved. The solution to ensure it didn’t happen again? I had all the kids line up, backs along the wall, while I finished tuning the last 2 flute players.
- The advanced players rehearsed their ensemble piece while I went over “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and “Firefly” with the beginners. You wouldn’t think I could have an interesting story from that, would you? However, while I was playing a rhythm for the three girls, one of them managed to get her earring stuck in her flute. To be clear, the earring was in her ear at the same time, and she was not playing. It was awesome and unbelievable, all at once. This same girl was holding her flute in her hand and pushing the bottom of it into the ground, using it as a cane. Ha! Kids. I love how they let us know when they are bored or uninterested.
*I’m out of writing time and have to get to a business meeting (I know, super-glamorous), so I’ll split this into 2 posts today! Come back for part 2 later this afternoon or evening.*