I have traveled to many countries and have attended a wide variety of performances throughout my travels. I went to a London theatre and attended a musical performance of “Les Misérables” which was an overwhelming experience with a moving stage and larger than life props and costumes. The music remained in your head for months and years later.
I also attended an opera in the Florence Opera House in Florence, Italy where I saw “La Bohème”. Even though the entire opera was in Italian, the professional actors made a profound connection with everyone in the audience, including our American college group who only knew enough Italian to get us one cup of cappuccino in a café. I think of those experiences as benchmarks for show stopping performances.
After this week, I can add another to my list of memorable performances:
There was a fourth grade class at College Lane Elementary that put on an American Education Week program about old fashioned rock n’ roll. On a windy and cold afternoon in November, I walked into the school and the gym was filled with music. On stage was a sea of students standing against a backdrop of balloon guitars and vinyl records and performing songs from a by-gone era. The performance was complete with dancing, a balloon saxophone solo and of course, plenty of singing.
Towards the end of the performance, there was the traditional fifteen second break between songs. The audience was a buzz from all of the activity they saw on the stage and during these seconds of down time the adults habitually check their watches which in the 21st Century are now attached to a Blackberry to see if they got the latest text. I did the same. And then a fourth grade student walked to the microphone for her solo. She began singing:
“When the night has come… and the land is dark… and the moon is the only light we'll see. No I won't be afraid… Oh I won't be afraid… just as long as you stand, stand by me.
The pitch was perfect. The melody spot on. And a captivated audience was left giving the soloist their undivided attention. Her classmates stood behind her swaying and providing a harmonic moving background as she continued:
“If the sky that we look upon… should tumble and fall… or the mountain should crumble to the sea. I won't cry… I won't cry… no I won't shed a tear… just as long as you stand, stand by me.”
You could hear a pin drop in the room and there were a few tears as the audience stood in awe of the discipline and poise of the young student.
The artistry of music is what ties us together as people and gives us a shared experience. It is a universal language that needs no translation. Music is what helps us celebrate the good times or gets us through the tough times together. Whether it is in the form of a musical theatre production, Italian opera, or a student rock n’ roll celebration; it is the most profound connection we have to each other.
If you have any questions about the Elementary Fine Arts Program you can e-mail email@example.com. Thank you for your interest in the arts.
Elementary Fine Arts Coordinator
Hobbs Municipal Schools