Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Instruments of Peace

I went to Sarah's final band concert on Wed. It was held at Carroll University in Shattuck Auditorium. I'm figuring for Middle Schoolers, it's the equivalent of Carnegie Hall. A beautiful, acoustically-sound facility it is.

The seventh graders were up first and were slated to perform 5 songs. They did a great job for the most part. There were some parts that sounded like the tubist got kicked in the privates in the middle of it. Other parts sounded like one of the clarinetists was playing under water, or perhaps inside an overturned port-a-potty. But like I said, overall they were pretty tight as a group. Sarah's flute of course was spot-on for the duration. Being a "beginning band instrumentalist", she was encouraged not to do one of the songs and because of this slight, the song was horrible. That will teach 'em.

The eighth graders did well too. They've got a drummer though who kept dropping one of his sticks, much to the instructors' chagrin. She stared laser daggers at him while he fumbled about picking them up. Sarah even confirmed that this teacher was very capable at giving "the look". We all laughed when she demonstrated it for us. Ben attested that he has a teacher with that same skill. I think it must be part of the Teaching Degree;

"The Look 101: This class explores the situations deserving of the look needed to strike fear, stop foolishness, bring students to Christ, make them wish they were never born, and if nothing else bring on shame and public humiliation. Such techniques will be discussed as:

  • The "Tsk Tsk" - Is it dated?
  • Is a look more powerful than words?
  • The eye roll
  • How long is too long to hold the look?
  • Is blinking a sign of weakness?
  • Is the look more effective when done over your glasses?

This class is sure to carry you far in your teaching career. It can also be used in social situations, during parenthood, when arguing with a spouse and even when arguing a call with a sports official. Prerequisites courses: The under your breath cuss 101, Patience and Pills 301, and Healthy Anger Outlets 301.

Of course I brought my video camera to the concert expecting to capture the whole event for posterity and You Tube. It has been a troublesome piece of electronica lately for me however. I spent the better half of the first 2 songs trying to get past the black screen of death. After paging through every menu on the camera at least twice, including the french language option (just in case), I gave up and almost hurled the thing at the bass drum. As it turns out the thing is on the fritz for real, and it was not my technical ineptitude.

As many people will attest, I tend toward the technically adept side of the spectrum. For some reason though, this camera is just beyond me. It has a manual that is as thick as a phone book and reads about the same. I think you can do some great editing, make movie greeting cards, google subjects of interest, draw mustaches on people in the films, and probably make phone calls with this thing.

But frankly, all I want to do is one thing...record. Unfortunately to do that you must also be willing to browse fifty three menus while your "low battery" light flashes that you only have 5 minutes of battery life left. Great, even if I could get the thing running, I'd only get through one and a half songs anyway. So alas, I'm left to record the concert in my brain, as it was meant to be in the first place. The replays aren't quite as clear, but they'll never be lost in a drawer somewhere.

To finish, I did want to say that during the switch from 7th to 8th place, there was an 8th grade girl who played George Winston's rendition of Pachobel's Canon that actually brought tears to my eyes. It was absolutely flooring. To see this beautiful music coming from the hands of such a young person was, well, inspiring. Kind of like listening to Sarah practice her flute and violin in her room in days gone past. I'm going to miss that as she opts to pursue other subjects in 8th grade. Who knows, maybe I'll pick up violin at 50.

Right now though, I'm blogging off.

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