I love school concerts. Seriously, I can’t get enough of them. I love seeing kids holding instruments that are slightly too big for their bodies. I love watching the shy kids sing their hearts out. I love the familiarity of it all.
I played clarinet for a few years and at the time I really didn’t like it. My father encouraged me to choose the clarinet because he liked Benny Goodman and ‘wouldn’t it be nice to play a woodwind instrument.’ So I did. And like most people who took an instrument and then gave it up, I regret not sticking with it.
However, that’s not the end of my love affair with music. I sang in chorus in elementary school, like everyone else did. But in middle and high school it was an option; an elective that not many people chose. I am so glad I chose it.
Participating in the chorus was the absolute highlight of my high school career. My teacher, Mr. Messina, was full of passion and enthusiasm for his craft. He introduced us to all kinds of music: swing, jazz, classical, country, Americana, popular, spiritual, folk.
He taught us how to read music and about the subtle nuances of harmony. And he taught us how to work together – by listening and responding – to create a beautiful sound.
Mr. Messina is enjoying a well-deserved retirement now. By far, he is one of my most favorite teachers. I’ve been going through a ton of old photos recently for a special family project and I came across so many hilarious photos of the awesome friends I made in chorus. The trips to Disney and DC, the musicals, the spring and winter concerts and the performances at Memorial Hall in Melrose for Memorial Day. Such a special time in my life.
My daughter just finished her fourth grade year and she’s been lucky to have great music teachers, too. But the best part is, she really appreciates them.
I know as she gets older she’ll have lots of choices when it comes to extracurricular activities. And while I don’t want to push her in one direction or another, I *really* hope she chooses to have music in her middle and high school years.
She won’t regret it.