One of the things I do at one of my schools is lead a choir, consisting of about 25 kids from 3rd – 5th grade. It’s usually fun, and it has its moments of quality when I think – this is coming along. They’ve potentially got something here. Or, as a former music professor of mine used to say, they’re beginning to sound like an “O.K. chorale.”
But for the most part, to be blunt, this choir isn’t O.K. Our practice schedule is inconsistent, because we’re a busy school with lots of other activities. The kids have a lot of fun in my regular music classes, and want to continue to have fun in the choir also, which means we probably goof around too much. And sometimes, even when we get a pretty decent sound at rehearsal (which happens), the kids then get that deer-in-the-headlights look during performance and attempt to sing without opening their mouths.
Well, there’s a school event tomorrow, and the choir doesn’t have to sing. Our head of school decided to let me wait until November to really get them ready. Which is good news for me, and will probably be good news for the audience, too.
But in way of a minor complication, a little excited 3rd-grade girl came up to me at lunch today, to confirm that the choir was indeed rehearsing this afternoon. Because she assumed we’re singing tomorrow. And since she’s in 3rd grade, and not a veteran jaded 4th or 5th grader, she still has those delusions of choral grandeur.
I told her that we were skipping practice today, so I could spend some time working on some other details for tomorrow’s event. Which was true, by the way. Then she asked if the choir was singing tomorrow, and I said, “Oh no, we’re not really ready yet.” I probably should have disguised the “are you kidding” tone in my voice, because she began to look concerned and asked, “What? We’re not good?”
Hmm. “Good” is a complicated word, and can be defined in many different ways. Unfortunately, none of those ways apply to this choir. Yet, this little girl somehow has faith in what we can accomplish. So, suddenly finding myself infused with the wisdom of Solomon (who, unknown to many people, directed a children’s choir for a while as one of his many hobbies), I said to her…
“Oh, I think we’re fine. But I’m holding out for Amazing.”
Her little smile came back, and she nodded, as though she was in on something with me. She had bought in to the “amazing” vision. She now has a mission.
I’ll let you know how it goes in November.