Holiday Performance. Most individuals would be filled with a sense of dread in hearing that phrase, at least the ones who know they have to plan and execute the entire thing would. However, I am not just any individual. I am cultivated from the crop of young stars who have grown up on the stage singing and dancing and smiling to beat the band. From years of being the performer, I knew what I needed to do to be the director. Allie and I worked our butts off to get our sixty something kindergartners ready for the big day. Thought went into song choices that touched on a variety of holidays and traditions. Time went into reading over lyrics and conjuring up nifty hand motions to help the kids remember the lyrics to 7 songs, some of which the majority did not know. Three weeks of practicing is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you have to make it sound like the most exciting thing in the whole entire world even though many of them were probably half sick of singing the same songs for days on end. Starting off that first week of practice, I confess I was about to pull my hair out because of how nervous I was. It was crazy trying to figure out who was playing and who was singing what and where to find the music to practice with and sending the mp3 files to the parents to have them practice at home because I was scared to death none of them would remember so many lyrics. But as time went by I became more and more at ease. They were ready. They knew the words. They practiced the motions. They smiled smiles that would melt your heart. I was excited to show off "my" kids to their parents.
The big night arrived, and I ran on 4 hours of sleep due to a perhaps unwise trip to the happiest place on earth the night before. (it was worth it) I didn't go home for a minute, but stayed after school to prep the room and the technology, which by the way, never works like it's supposed to. Luckily my mom came with dinner and encouragement as she tagged along in the school that has become my home the past 8 weeks while I set everything up and beautified myself. Details had been put in place like you wouldn't believe....
-snowflakes that the kids made earlier this week were pinned to the curtains -masking tape with each kid's name was placed on the ground so each child knew where to stand -small posters were made to hold up and let the kids know what song was next so introductions and talking wasn't needed in between every song -picture slideshows and short movies of the kids were played as we flexibly had the kids sit down to wait for them to finish before singing -a microphone was ready for me to face over a hundred people eagerly waiting to see their children and snap some pictures to welcome them, introduce myself, and explain how dismissal would work at the end -music stands were ready -the kids were in their holiday best (you should have seen those girls' dresses!)
I confess to feeling slightly smug at the excellent way we executed our performance. Everyone was thrilled to death, even the principal came to watch. I was relieved that I had no nerves when speaking to the parents and that the kids sang without a hitch. I laughed at their cute antics and smiled at the number of camera flashes occurring during the entire performance. I regret to say, I did fail to remember to have the kids say Merry Christmas in different languages. However, I don't feel too terrible about it since it was announced to me only 2 days prior that that was going to happen at our performance. As it was, we finished right on time and I had countless parents thanking me and asking me to take pictures with their children while saying how much I'd be missed. It was very heart-warming.
I was filled with a mixture of emotions at the end. Relief that it was over with. Happiness that it was done so well. Pride in pulling off my first directed performance successfully. And sadness that I was one step closer to saying good-bye to the children I've grown to love.