November 26, 2011 by readlisaread
We held a fund raiser the other night for the 5 5 5 Project. The Talent Show has been done before, it’s a popular event. But there was something different about it this year. There were subtle differences– usually it is done as a dinner + Talent + Silent auction, with proceeds going directly to the band program. This year, our focus is a little less on individual programs, and more on the big school goal. This is partially due to job action (long story, related to Union struggles and lack of contract) and partially due to the commitment we have made. But, because the Talent Show has been a popular event in the past, our wonderful Band Teacher undertook the challenge on behalf of the 5 5 5.
There are certain truths about middle schools, teenagers and Talent Nights, and they all apply here, but sometimes there is magic that overrides everything else. And there was magic….
From the jazz band that opened the show, to the MC, to the back-stage crew, there was magic at every turn. I listened as the head of the Backstage crew organized his helpers and gave every performer a little pep-talk or friendly word before their performance, calling them by name, sounding like a consummate professional. And he is in grade 8. The Emcee kept the show going, made sure that every performer enjoyed the appropriate amount of applause, and even let me put her on the spot when we needed to stall for time. A lovely girl in grade 9. Never emcee’d a show before in her life. And I haven’t even got to the “talent” yet.
Our school sits in the shadow of one of the mountains that embrace our valley. The town itself is a small one, but there is enough fast food places, bars and casinos to bring all the unsavory elements of any urban centre. Our kids come from a broad range of society, but the majority of them would be considered “Inner City” kids in a bigger place. They have single parent homes and not-enough-to-eat homes, and homes where the fist rules and homes where the bottle does. But their parents love them. And their parents want them to succeed. Moms and Dads and Grandmas and Grandpas come out to conferences and band concerts and talent shows. And school is a safe place.
There were a couple of dozen acts at the Talent Show. They ranged from acapella versions of current top 10 hits to old standards; electric guitar solos and piano performances; duets and quartets. And then there were the show stoppers– like the young fellow who wrote a song dedicated to his friends who supported him through the dark days of Middle School. His friend set it to music, and played the guitar accompaniment while he sang–for the first time in his life in front of a crowd. As I listened, knowing the boy and his story, I was moved by what he shared. But then I started to listen– really listen–and I realized that this song wasn’t just a cute little ditty. This was the real stuff.
Where does talent come from? Hard work, genetics, luck….. but heart must play the biggest part. Or maybe, it wasn’t a Talent Show with Heart….. maybe it was a Heart Show.
It was one of those days, having put in more than 12 hours, that I loved my job. Not in spite of the extra hours, but because of them.