It was the final curtain on Friday this week. Eight months of preparation, sweat, blood and tears to a week of performances. Emotions ran high throughout the whole of that week. I suspect the cast households have been very quiet this weekend as they have (hopefully – apart from my poor daughter!) slept.
Whilst waiting for the final curtain up, I was easing out my back which gets the odd twinge when you’re standing conducting for 3 hours, lying on the stage and was joined by a cast member who asked me what I was doing and if they could join me. As we chatted he asked why I do what I do, what made me go into it. It is an interesting question to which I didn’t have the miraculous ‘it was my calling’ type answer. I never wanted to teach. My parents were both teachers and I wanted something different. What that was, I don’t know. I loved singing, dancing, acting, but I was always just average at that stuff, so I went and did a music degree but specialising in performance, (conducting was my third study!). After that, I suppose I just ‘fell’ into it. Then I had kids and took an entirely different path because I felt my ‘calling’ was to help others. I did doula work, training in midwifery, worked for the NCT, but then a series of events pulled me back to teaching and then…into this world of music, drama, singing too.
My answer to him had to be ‘for this‘.
For this moment of arrival after 8 months of working with kids who didn’t think they could sing very well, or have it in them to do this production.
For the standing ovations they got for their outstanding performances.
For the kid who doubted him or herself who gets into trouble but in this environment, shines like a fresh new star in the sky and finds that bit of hope and confidence that actually they are good at stuff and ‘naughty’ doesn’t need to be their label.
For that timid and shy person who steps out of their comfort zone and can now approach other things with a new found sense of courage.
For that strapping sixth form lad who ‘can’t sing’ because he’s not been given the opportunity, not because he can’t, that now approaches his A levels with a revised sense of determination knowing that you can do stuff, it just takes practice.
For the bonding and social camaraderie that the ‘new kid’ or the ‘loner’ has now developed with a tight knit group of kids who accept them for who they are and welcome them into their team with open arms.
For the geeky kid who feels awkward but finds they are amazing at something technical and that they are needed and wanted by everyone around them who can then go on and become that film editor or sound producer or…the list goes on.
I have had the most amazing 8 months working with a team of teachers who I can honestly say are great friends now. I will miss them and the whole headache of stupidly awkward rhythms, hideous music in 6 sharps, weekends in work, lack of sleep, tears, worry and most of all, laughter. I will miss these kids, but, in answer to the question, it is about helping to change just that one life, not dramatically, but sowing that seed in that kid’s head that they CAN do and that they ARE important. That’s what it’s all about.