Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Teach Your Parents Well

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.


Mrs. Wonderful said...

We too had our final concert for boys chorus on Sunday. Too, parents murmured, applauded at the wrong times and flashed cameras (in my eyes, my eyes!).

The older chorus did camp pop songs... I'll never hear Bon Jovi the same way EVER. And the youngest chorus was oh so edibly cute.

My dear son frowned through the whole thing. I learned later he was concentrated on proper stance and doing the words just right... he was sick all the next day. I wonder if he'll stay in show biz.

answer me this, O Tuna. Why are choral songs, particularly children's choral songs, always about music, and how it brings a smile, a tear. We never get a song about something besides music... they seemed to sing songs about singing. Is that a secret plot of choral directors to indoctrinate the masses? I should do my own entry on the concert, but I'm going to spam up your blog!

My vacation starts in 10 days and lasts 8 days. Sigh.

Gary said...

Tuna, inconsiderate concert goers (they aren't just in children's concerts, I'm afraid) are one of my pet peeves, both as a performer and an audience member. Luckily, our last concert last weekend was well attended and everyone was riveted! Haha, someone said that on the first half, we sounded like the Westminster Abbey Choir. Hmmm, not sure about that, but I appreciated the sentiment all the same.