Flashing lights, strategizing to get the best seat, standing room only affairs. This has to be an A-list event right? No, it’s an elementary school music recital! I can remember my nephew’s first violin recital at his school. Just like any other proud parent, my sister arrived at least an hour (knowing her, maybe two) to get a good, no, the best seats in the house for what was to us an epic event. My nephew’s solo violin debut of a variation on Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. With camera phones ready, fingers were eagerly waiting to press record in anticipation of the little stars’ entrance. As they hesitantly marched down the aisle, bows and instruments in hand, they sat in front anxiously waiting their turn to shine.
I can remember being nervous. Nervous for him and for me. His performance was déjà vu. I sat in that same chapel years ago shaking with fear as I waited to play Rossini’s William Tell Overture. I was 16 and although I had made the chamber orchestra, I was not the best trumpet player. As the notes failed to come out of my trumpet (I refuse to take the blame, it was the instrument’s unwillingness to work as a team player) I froze with fear. Thank goodness for the more experienced trumpet player to my right, who clearly had just came back from performing at Carnegie Hall. She saved the performance and the dignity of the brass section (which consisted of she and I). We both messed up that day but after an official “do-over” from our music teacher/conductor, the performance went off without a hitch. You would have never known that we botched William Tell from the response of the crowd. Everyone stood up and clapped and cheered, my father perhaps being one of the loudest. As we walked down that same aisle, hands patted us on the back and “great job”, “well done” could be heard from wall to wall. Were they deaf? I thought I stunk! I couldn’t understand. But now I do.
As my nephew stood up and prepared to perform, I held my camera high and grinned from ear to ear. It was the longest two minutes of our lives. We couldn’t wait for it to be over. Not because he was bad, he was actually quite good (who knew there was a remix of Twinkle Twinkle). We couldn’t wait for it to be over so we could explode with adulation. We cheered and shouted his name. And yes, we were the loudest in the chapel. Filled with pride, we met him outside and patted him on his back. Then, we proceeded to the reception where high fives, fist bumps and “great job” awaited.
What is it that makes us so proud at the smallest achievements coming from our children/nephews/grandkids? For some, we see ourselves and a glimpse of who we used to be before “life happened”. For others, it’s dreams that were unrealized, realized through offspring. This spring, the Classical 94.5 WNED station wants to celebrate the starlets in your house with Young Performers. We’ll feature the most accomplished young vocalists and instrumentalists from Western New York, Southern Ontario, and Northwestern Pennsylvania. Does your kid have musical talent? Contact us. We want to cheer as loud as you do when he or she performs. Applications will be accepted through February 3rd.