‘The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
‘To talk of many things:
Of shoes- and ships- and sealing wax-
Of cabbages and kings-
And why the sea is boiling hot-
And whether pigs have wings.’
-Lewis Carroll (1872)
I spent 16 years of my life driving my daughter here and there, and I can honestly say that I sometimes miss those long ago years, because we had many a lively conversation in the car that we might not have had in a less enclosed space. And then when she had friends in the car with her, I would just be the silent chauffeur who might as well have been invisible. I learned all sorts of stuff about what was going on in Shannon’s world by eavesdropping that way!
Fast forward to the present: Last weekend, Pure Sound (the youth choir that I have taken under my wing) presented a fully staged adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s epic musical, South Pacific. It was a magnificent production by these amazingly talented kids, ranging in age from the 6th – 12th grades from schools all across the city. In addition to these youth, there were also two kids who were “younger than springtime” playing the parts of Emile de Becque’s children; both were younger siblings of Pure Sound members, and for sure, future Pure Sounders.
All these kids, their intrepid directors (both musical and dramatic), supporting musicians, parent and non-parent volunteers alike, have been working on this project since last fall. It was a monumental effort by all, and the results were absolutely nothing less than phenomenal.
Alas, it was a dark and stormy weekend, so I have no doubt that many who had good intentions of coming to see this show were dissuaded by the tornado and flood warnings. Happily, there were a good number of determined folks who braved the elements to support our troupe, and I do believe that they were buoyed (so to speak) by the enthusiasm of those who made that effort to wade through the water.
It was a late night following the final performance on Saturday, and all had an early morning call to sing in our 8:30 a.m. worship service the next day. There were more than a few sleepyheads on Sunday morning, but we had a good turnout; I think they were running on pure adrenaline at that point.
I couldn’t believe the choir director called for their regular rehearsal on Sunday afternoon (4-5:30), because they won’t be singing in worship for the next two weeks. From my adult point of view, I figured everyone would be tired and would rather take a nap. But as it turned out, it was the correct call, because the good vibes were still evident; they were all still savoring the residual afterglow and wanted to share it together. He was right!
After rehearsal was over, I ended up taking two siblings home; their house is very close to mine. As tired as they were, they couldn’t stop talking about the show and the choir. “I just LOVE Pure Sound!” the sister said; she spoke of how much this experience meant to her, and how touched she was to have her teachers and others come to support her performance.
From the back seat, her brother sang tunes from this show and others from another in which he had just participated at his school. We discussed the recent phenomenon of that unlikely winner of England’s version of “Idol” who came out of nowhere to sing the inspirational song that Eponine sings in Les Miz, “I Dreamed a Dream”. And he explained to me how actors in long running shows keep their focus. We talked all the way home of shoes and ships and sealing wax…
I loved this opportunity that I was given to spend some time with these precious kids who are such an integral part of our choir. It was such a treat for me to return to the days of cozy car conversations.
Listen up, all you moms/dads out there who groan about carpool duty- please do try to enjoy these years, as stressful as they sometimes are. Savor this time, because once that driver’s license is in hand, your captive audience and easy conversations will soon evaporate. Only then will you look back and realize what a good thing you once had going… trust me on this one.
(note: pewperson will return May 2)