Forty-four years ago I played in the pit orchestra for our high school spring musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. I was sixteen. I remember long rehearsals and the weekend performances like they happened yesterday and coincidentally yesterday was opening night at my local high school’s production of the same piece. I couldn’t resist going, especially since a number of the kids that play with our community band were playing in the pit for this production.
It was magic.
The musicians were stupendous, the acting was great, the voices strong and sure. I remembered it all, the lines, the songs, the jokes, even obscure bits of music blending into the background. I remembered Billy Bigelow the out of work carousel barker, and Julie Jordan the mill worker who fell in love but who were too scared to admit it. I remember Carrie and her beau Enoch Snow the uptight fisherman. I remembered the bad choices that were made and how even in the worst of times people pulled together and eventually did the right thing.
I was transported.
Such talent we have among us! And they loved what they were doing so much that their enthusiasm spread through the auditorium. I kept seeing my own classmates in their faces, yet they interpreted the piece as their own. They earned the standing ovation at the conclusion and you could see the glee on their faces as they accepted our applause.
School musicals, band and orchestra concerts, debate team competitions, robotics challenges, sports events, art showings, these all showcase the best of what these young adults have to offer. They deserve to be supported. The auditorium should have been sold out last night. I hope it is tonight and Saturday and Sunday too.
Even if you don’t have kids in your local school district check out what’s going on there. I bet every high school in the country is putting on a spring musical right about now.
Take a chance.
Disrupt your usual evening of watching television, arguing politics, doing laundry or reading a book and head out to see what the kids are putting together. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Those of you that live locally, there’s still five more performances here. It’s stopped snowing, there’s no excuse not to go. Let’s sell out that auditorium.
Attend a high school musical and prepare to be transported.