I had a very moving experience involving children on Wednesday, 19 December 2012. At 12:30 hrs, I went to Sarah’s school to help her with her Christmas concert the next day. Sarah is an elementary school teacher, and is also the music teacher in her school, which covers K-6. Some weeks ago she asked if I would learn a Coco Love Alcorn song, “Joyful“, teach her how to play it, and then she would teach the kids how to sing it. For the concert, I would play guitar on that song. I arrived at the school, and immediately realized I’d left my guitar at home. Well, duh. Sarah met me and told me she had her’s there, so I could use it. At least I had my amp and cables.
We went to the gym and I set up my gear, Sarah and I ran through Joyful, as well as a couple of her originals, because she had said we might play 1-3 of her original tunes for the children as well. Everything was ready and at about 13:00 the kids started filling up the gym with their various teachers. I found myself very conscious of their presence, not in the least of which was because of the recent Sandy Hook tragedy. I felt so privileged to be there amongst them. While they were getting seated, I started to play Jingle Bells quietly, and the K kids, sitting close to me, started smiling and singing along. By the time everyone was seated, the entire school was singing Jingle Bells. A little girl in the K class smiled and made me the heart symbol with her hands so I did it back to her, and she and the other kids sitting with her were beaming!
Sarah explained that the kids were there so that they could see a preview of the concert and see what the other grades would be doing during the concert, since when the concert was being held (twice that day), they wouldn’t be able to watch. We sat through each Grade doing their songs and dances and routines, all of them wonderful, silly, and yes, joyful. When it was time for me to join in, she introduced me (they all know that she and I play music together), and the kids all yelled, “HI RANDY!” I couldn’t stop smiling.
To organize them for the song, Sarah and their teachers lined them all up in a row against the left, right and back walls, with the smallest ones up front, below the stage. (This is how they would sing the song during the concert, with the parents sitting in the chairs watching). I started playing, while also basically helping Sarah, as she had to conduct them facing four directions at once, and the kids at the front had an extra line to sing at the end of the song. I played, the kids sang, and it was great fun, with me singing standing near the centre of the gym (at Sarah’s request), playing while also singing along so the kids could see me doing so and follow along more easily.
When this was finished, we were going to play a song or two of Sarah’s. The kids were excited, and Sarah told them they could all get up and dance. The K kids were smiling at me and I said, “Hey, are you guys ready to dance?”, and they said, “Yah”, so I said in a louder voice, “I SAID, ARE YOU READY TO DANCE?”, and they screamed, “YEEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!”
I started the song, but Sarah had no mic, so they couldn’t hear her, just me playing. So there I was, pounding out Sarah’s great song, “Gone for Good”, and an entire elementary school dancing up a storm on the gymnasium floor and having a blast. It was so much fun.
No one needs to be reminded of how special and important children are. But seldom do we get to go into a school and experience what teachers do for them, and what an absolute gift each child is in our lives, and how amazing each teacher is. The concerts held the following day were a great success, and I loved helpng Sarah and her kids with both of them. But I also wanted to share with you what an amazing, special experience today was for me. Thanks, Sarah, for asking me to help! 🙂