Thursday, December 7, 2006

Prologue to the Jeremy Crow Christmas Countdown 2006 - Part 1

It was going to be two nights of hell in my mind as I once again was forced to sit and watch “Holiday” concerts with the anything having to do with Christmas totally removed from them. This has been the trend now going on the last three years of school for my kids, and my oldest has started getting rather vocal about it in school herself because even at 14 years old she realizes how sensitivity turns into lunacy really quickly. The good news is that she {all on her own mind you} has decided that she is going to take a failure in chorus class and take some other form of music class next year because she was furious that they are going to sing “Latin Folk Songs” for their “Winter Concert” this year and her and about half of the chorus quit in unison. I usually wouldn’t support such disregard for school rules and the willingness to get a failing grade, but I feel that she has drawn a responsible line in the sand and stand behind her. The fact that it gets me out of having to sit through another “Winter Concert” this year makes me rather happy though as well. This doesn’t mean that I wasn’t forced to go through my thirteenth “Winter Concert” in the last nine years last night all the same.

It figures that when the oldest one who is two schools removed {Middle school and now High School} from the other two decides to drop Choir that the Elementary school decides to split their concerts into two with the third through fifth graders on night one and the kindergarten through second on night two. It’s their way of making me have less time I tell you and be tortured by the typical “out of tune” screaming that you get when everyone in the school is forced to be in choir, and I’m telling you all NO MAS! This year does have potential though as a little girl who was born deaf, and regained her hearing through surgery actually has the ending solo on night two {last night} and I happen to have a personal interest in this girl because she just so happens to be Imtoocutus. The funny story to all of this is that the music teacher {like all of the teachers because none of them actually communicate amongst themselves or read the 4 hours of paperwork that I am forced to fill out at the beginning of every school year … RANT OFF} didn’t even know that 3 years ago she was 80 percent deaf. For the most part she overlooked her speech impediment as being part of her upbringing and picked her for her enthusiasm {heaven forbid you talk to her speech therapist} and she was slated to sing “Silent Night” at the end of the show. Yeah I wondered how they didn’t find that song to be religious based myself, but I guess in the New World Order there are virgin mothers all over the place or something.

In order though I must talk about the night before last though when a bit of a Christmas miracle happened despite the stripping of Christmas from the concert. I’m not even talking about the genius of the music teacher as she had given Captain ADHD and his best friend that we shall call “Mini Evil” parts in the concert as “Drummers” so that they could sit off to the side with bongo drums and play along. The reason this was absolute genius and I was thoroughly impressed, was the fact that I really had wondered how she was going to keep the two of them from going all “Spastic Fantastic” on the stage when they were supposed to be standing in their little lines singing. She demonstrated that by sitting them down on the side with drums their hands and brains were occupied and they had no resolve to go running around like lunatics. Pure GENIUS! More over I think that this woman {despite her lack of reading Imtoocutus’s records} managed to find a niche for these two balls of crazed evil, as they were able to act a bit silly with their drums and keep the “Cult of the Easily Amused” in the audience quite entertained despite the Chinese Auditory Torture that was happening on stage. I myself even found myself laughing uncontrollably on a few occasions over “Mini Evil” using his head to beat the drum when he found out it would increase the laughter, and Captain ADHD responding with a mini solo deflecting the thing back and forth on his own cheeks {the ones on his face as his rear end never actually left the seat Thank GOD!} and I am a hard audience to this as I know these two are trying to take over the world! All in all they managed to make it through the first act of the show with hardly any problems.

Now comes the part of this show that would make up the bulk of the torture as the other two grades that I have no blood reason to be punishing myself through begin their performances. The fourth grade did their three songs and no matter how tired I was this was the cure to someone like myself, that has a tendency to nod off during excruciatingly awful music. I made it through it relatively unscathed and onward to the fifth graders who came out and took their positions to start torturing me as aptly as the two grades before them. I happen to know for a fact through going through this with the older one that this form of Chinese Auditory Torture doesn’t lessen until they reach eighth grade at the earliest and in the best of circumstances I have another 5 years until then, but something interesting happened as the last student was carried onto the stage. The boy who’s name I do not know was obviously a child who was born with Downs Syndrome, and also has a lot of physical issues that made his entire body shake violently, and a casual look around the room showed me rather quickly that a lot of people grew uncomfortable, which is actually normal, and doesn’t make any of them bad people, just curious to someone a bit different in appearance. I don’t have any of those issues because of the 8 Special Olympics I was a volunteer for, my oldest daughters oldest and dearest friend being a boy handicapped almost identically, and various relatives that are severely handicapped, I have become quite desensitized, so of course I went strait to the mode of being very interested now in the show.

The boy was being held up in the second row by the woman who brought him out {probably his mother} and there was a bit of a wide birth being given to him as he was swinging around quite violently, and very much so uncontrollably, and the people in the audience were now after a couple of intolerable songs “interested” like I was. The wait for the grand solo was over as the woman that was holding the little boy carried him down, front and center to the microphone. The little boy who was much smaller than the rest of them and warbling around uncontrollably barely had his mouth close enough to the microphone realistically when the music teacher started playing the notes to a song that I remembered singing when I was a boy of the same age in one of our “Spring Concerts” and I actually found myself humming a bit to the tune of “Edelweiss” which was probably the second most notable song from “The Sound of Music.” Her musical introduction was a bit long I thought, and wondered if he was having trouble getting started until the music teacher finally made the second pass at the introduction and the boy started singing. His beautiful soprano voice started bringing out the words to a song that I actually know all the words to but haven’t heard anything like this since I saw the Harlem Boy’s Choir in New York City and that was more years ago then I want to admit to, but I can honestly say that despite the removal of religion from this whole event I was hearing the voice of an angel.

The people in attendance were in total awe of the amazing voice that was brought from this little boy who had no fear of being “un-cool”, singing like a “girl” but moreover so obviously overjoyed to be able to contribute to this concert and as I was sitting there growing myself into tears, and wondering if I was looking “un-cool” myself tearing up in a crowd of parents usually being the hardened one in the bunch. I happened to not be the only man who was tearing up even as the whole chorus came in during certain parts and not ruining it. The people of this crowd were blessed by the very same gift that I was, which had hardly anything to do with the handicapped boy except for the fact that he was making music that was moving and incredibly filled with the very soul of art. At the end of the song there was actually a pregnant pause that you rarely hear during one of these events, as most of the parents are jumping in as fast as they can to get the applause out there and {from what I assume} in a vain attempt to get the show over with. This time was different as I think that the people sitting around me in this Elementary School auditorium were actually a bit saddened by the beautiful voice of an angel ending, but if only for a moment as the applause started raging forth like it was the finally song of a Springsteen concert. I personally don’t think Springsteen could have ever been this good though.

After corralling the formidable Captain ADHD who was dead tired but trying to maintain the energy level that people are used to seeing in him {it’s past his bedtime at this point after all} we managed to find our way to the car. On the way home I told him that he did a wonderful job playing the drums and I was very proud of him. The usual stuff that a parent tells their child after a performance of any sort, and what really stuck with me was his response to my accolades. He very casually said “It was fun and all, but I wish Josh was singing with us.” … To Be Continued … ;8o)