It's concert season again.
Late spring marks lots of endings, and if you saw my calendar, there is at least one concert, recital or final something or other between now and June 13th -- The Most Holy and Righteous Opening Day of the Tuna Clan's badly needed vacation so help me God.
This past Sunday night GramTuna and I joined an overflowing crowd of parents, family and friends, as the Children's Choir (fresh from their Carnegie Hall triumph) sang their final concert. I was happy to sit inside and listen, relieved that I escaped both my household chores and the cold, dreary weather (at least for a little while).
It was quite an evening of contrasts. While the choir sang with a musical savvy and emotional maturity that belied their age, the parents fidgeted, squirmed and rattled their programs. While the children focused all their attention on the conductor, parents walked in and out during the performance, some quietly, others less so. While the performers were amazingly polished, the parents aimed their cameras and snap-snap-snapped away, despite printed notices that cameras were not allowed.
And I'm not saying that I was any better. Although I know fully well how to sit still, be quiet and not rattle programs or wrappers during a concert, at times I only listened with half an ear, spending the rest of my time either wishing hate on inconsiderate people, or running through mental checklists of major events pending vs. major events completed.
After the concert was over, the parents chatted amongst themselves, comparing schedules, asking about children and offering polite congratulations. The children had a different take. This concert meant everything to them. Some hugged because they wouldn't be together again until next August. One boy cried profound tears of sadness, because he knew his voice was changing, meaning his journey in this particular choir had come to an end.
Later that evening I finally took the time to look at the program. I noticed a translation for the last piece of the concert (my favorite), that was sung in Hebrew:
"The World is sustained by three things: By truth. By justice. By peace."
Such a simple sentiment. Such a profound statement. The kids understood this. They cherished it and savored it in a way the parents either would not or could not.
I think I should have listened sooner.