I'm so proud of all my students! Some of you might think that that means the concert was perfect- it wasn't. Here's why it was great though..
I asked my students to get there by 6:15. I had kids and parents there by 5:45. (I told you they know I hate when they're late) Only 1 boy from 8th grade came after I had started warming up/last minute announcements but he was decked out in a full suit (rather than just normal black and white) and apologized on his way up. By the way, the risers and piano were all set up and ready to go.
I was missing less than 10 students from the whole concert (out of 183). Over half of those kids were home sick from school or had talked to me ahead of time. 3 kids are in the METCO program, which means they live in Boston instead of the town I teach in. I missed them and hope that I can reach out to see what we can do for those kids next time.
5th Grade- Had 2 announcers- They were both adorable. I asked who was brave enough to start the whole concert and talk to all those people before the concert started and one of my nicest boys in the grade volunteered. He was very charming and did a great job. Then the little girl was an incredible reader.
The 5th grade did have some of the problems I thought they would with the words but they performed well. I was excited that most of them were there and it was great to feel their excitement. I sometimes get annoyed with the whole "Hi Mom!!!" thing with the wave on the risers, this group didn't have any of that. I did watch their faces light up as they found their parents in the audience and smiled at them. There was one boy in particular whose happiness to see his dad (His dad talked to me after the concert. His joy about his son was just as heartwarming.) gave me quite a smile.
So 5th grade 1st song was good. 2nd song was very pretty. 3rd song was the one I was worried about. My alto section almost blew it until this angelic little voice, Zack, sang out bravely (and alone on the right words.) I saw him after the show and said "Zack! You SAVED the alto section! Great job! I'm really proud of you." He laughed and said "Thanks! I was terrified." Ha ha.
6th Grade is my smallest group. Not only could I hear them but they were extremely musical. I sincerely enjoyed just listening to them. There were a few girls who sang out that are usually a lot quieter than they were tonight. They worked together as a group to listen to each other and adjust accordingly. They sang with expression and their behavior was impeccable. I wanted to hug them all.
7th/8th- My 2 speakers for this group were also very professional. I purposely chose people who would show the progression from 5th-8th grade. It was amusing to see the audience's reaction to hearing the boy with a changed voice making the announcement.
I am most critical of this group because I expect a lot from them and because they can handle someone having realistic expectations for them. I was disappointed that 3 kids kept pronouncing a word in Hebrew wrong, which made it sound like the whole chorus was singing the word wrong. There were also 2 girls in the alto section who were giggling or something during our pieces, which was distracting and stuck out like crazy. OTHER than that... they really sang out. 1st song the sopranos led really well and took a risk to sing way louder than normal. The 2nd song is structured strangely. I totally messed up at one point when I flipped 2 pages instead of one. We basically made up 4 measures and then got back on track without anyone noticing the mistake. The kids who really knew this stepped up as leaders here. The 3rd song starts with all the gentlemen. I cannot always hear them and I gave them of a bit of a "Trust me" "Take a risk" conversation the other day. They all did and I was really proud of them. There are boys that I have barely heard over the past 4 years that I heard tonight singing confidently for the first time. The altos kept balance and the sopranos led the piece where it was supposed to go. The last piece was clean and open. Again, baritones sung out. Altos were consistent and the sopranos were brave.
After the concert I met many new families. One of the moms came up to me and just hugged me. I'm a hugger, but this was my first time meeting this woman. She was just so excited and I went with it. Another woman thanked me "for giving them the gift of getting to listen to these beautiful children share their music." I had another woman sign her daughter up for chorus after she had left in October. The 8th graders all got together and took pictures. (This 8th grade is very special to me. I will actually have a difficult time when they go to high school- not because they're such great musicians that my program will be hurt but because they are such good people that their words, excitement, compassion and humor will genuinely be missed by myself and many of the other kids they sang with.) Parents were friendly and talkative to each other. Adults were talking with the students and the students were proud and respectful. I was also really happy to see some of my colleagues. My vice principal came, 2 aides and 2 teachers. The kids were happy to see them too.
I am looking forward to giving the kids their written evaluation of the concert to see what their thoughts were about the night. Alright... I'm going to bed. haven't stopped to relax since 6 this morning. I wish I could share some pictures with you.