Saturday 20 December 2014

Let it snow. Let it snow. Or not.

'Tis the season for kids to have Christmas concerts. And rooms full of cyborgs to attend said performances, viewing it through their upheld rectangular glowing unblinking eyes. It really is amazing what having one's own relation on stage can make endurable, and occasionally even enjoyable.

We didn't get any record of the kids' school concert. The gym was absolutely packed and stifling. I ended up in the very back corner, an overheated sardine. I didn't bother to get my camera out. It was quite a relief that it seems every single parent ignored the somewhat passive aggressive note in the school newsletter which informed everyone of the disruptive rudeness of getting up and leaving as soon as your child's part was over. Emeth's class was near the middle of the performance, and Istra's was third from last... the gym was comparatively empty by that time. It was a bit embarrassing actually, all the empty seats at that point. I considered sitting down, but then decided to hold my position with a few others remaining at the back to give the illusion that there still was a standing-room-only presence. And I even stayed right until the end, not missing a moment of the excitement of the last two acts.

We had thought with the kids doing their regular school concert, maybe we'd skip putting them in their music school's Christmas concert. Emeth was much gladdened by this, still being very against playing his guitar in front of people (despite being a better player than many of the other kids). After Istra's seizure and paralysis at the last music school concert, and her pretty poor effort at practising lately, we thought she might be relieved as well -- but she surprised us by insisting that she really, really, really wanted to be in the this concert. Apparently we couldn't say no to that. So, instead, we used it to "encourage" her to practice a little more seriously...

Istra, calm and collected, before moving her her assigned seat in front of us.
It seemed to work. She improved greatly just in the week or so before the concert recital (which was today). And she seemed, having even practiced with a microphone this time, ready and fine... right up to the moment it was her turn to ascend the stage. She was the 23rd performer of 26, so the show had been going on for quite a while as she sat waiting. When her turn came, she turned to us, gripping tightly the back of her seat, her face twisted in fear, she tells us she isn't going up. We tell her she has to now. She says she can't. We tell her she can do it, to just do it, and she'll be fine. She groans and whimpers. Everyone waits. Time stretches out! Will she? Won't she? At this last minute, with Grammie, Aunty Priscilla and Gigi with us, she will not let go of the death grip she has on the back of her seat? No other kid had anything like this reaction. Good grief.

And then suddenly, she gave up all hope and she went. As if on a death march. To the front. Her music teacher, Grace, scurried over from the other side of the room and gave her a bit of a pep talk. After the concert, Grace came over and told us she didn't know if it helped, describing Istra's shell shocked face. But I saw Istra smile momentarily as she turned away from Grace, who was opening her mouth exaggeratedly wide at her to remind her to do the same while singing.

And then the song. It was fine. She didn't crack. She sang quite smoothly, kept in time with the music, and hit her notes. Frankly, considering her seeming state at that last moment in her seat, we were amazed she performed without cracking. As soon as she finished singing though, her face again puckered up in anxiety, as she took her leave of the limelight...

We all congratulated her. And a few minutes later she was fine again. Wheh!

Until next time...

Special guests, Aunty Priscilla and Gigi.
How Emeth preferred to hog an entire pew to all himself and relax during the recital. (He was forced to come sit with us, when the place started filling up.)

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