Last night's holiday concert was a success.
It's always worse in my head than it actually turns out. The hellish part is assembling 100+ pre-pubescent middle-schoolers - armed with musical instruments - in the school cafeteria for warm-ups & tuning. Inevitably (and despite numerous warnings and death threats on my part), they use that time to do everything that they should NEVER do -- especially before a performance. Like swapping instruments with their friends: the tuba player's playing a flute, the saxophonist - a trumpet. A trombone slide goes missing, a bassoon bocal narrowly misses a 12-year old's retina. And what better time - than in an overheated, overcrowded cafeteria - to yell, scream and play as LOUDLY as you possibly can?
But once they get set up, lined up and ushered out onto the stage, the transformation occurs. I stand backstage, awaiting the principal's intro, and gaze out across my fleet of mini-musicians. Sitting there, instruments in their laps, fidgeting with excitement -- tugging at neckties, waving at parents. I walk out, stand before them, they sit up straight - instruments at the ready, their eyes meet mine. I smile -- they relax, and AWAY WE GO!
Months of preparation - frustrating rehearsals, intense break-throughs and bad jokes - pay off in one glorious evening. They come through - they always come through in a clutch. And after the last cutoff, they sit tall, proud. My heart swells and I realize I am one of the luckiest people in the world to do what I do each day.