First Grade Birthday Experience

Since today (Thursday, May 6) was the Lovely Miss Courtney’s 20th birthday, I got my first-grade class at school to sing to her. I called her on the phone while I had them in class, and we gave her the following birthday musical experience…

The opening part of “Birthday” by the Beatles (we just played it, loudly, on the I-pod player. They aren’t really up to singing that song convincingly. Plus, the librarian next door seems to like it when I play loud music on the I-pod. At least that’s how I choose to interpret her feelings about it);

The traditional “Happy Birthday” song – you have to imagine a roomful of 1st graders trying to sing louder than each other to understand the full effect of this simple yet timeless and hauntingly beautiful song;

We then sang “It’s Your Birthday,” a song that has been in the school’s music collection since before my time. It may be time to retire it, but since Courtney didn’t know it, it worked;

We then closed with one little girl and one little boy, each performing their spontaneous birthday song compositions. Kind of weird, hippy, free-form, deep, dark coffeehouse type of stuff. I’m not sure what each song meant, and I don’t think Courtney is either. But it was definitely a unique musical moment. If I had known their songs were going to take on that deep vibe, I would have brought candles into the room.

It’s not easy to get tempermental artists like this group to do what you want them to do. They can get pretty nuts about the smallest thing. But they rose to the occasion. I’d love to make them available for your birthdays or the birthdays or your loved ones, but as I said, these are tempermental artists. I think we just need to call today a success and then try not to do it again. That would make the librarian happy, too.

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