Friday, December 21, 2012
Every elementary student was in every Christmas program at the school I attended, so I had a few performances under my belt by the time I reached Jr. High. The community loved and supported every program.
I don't remember many specifics, but one picture, probably taken by my parents, sticks in my mind; it was a big production! The picture revealed a colorful and somewhat elaborate western background on the stage, which was filled with little students in colorful frocks.
Thinking back, I now realize that as a grade school student preparing for these programs, I was learning traditional Christmas literature, learning to sing in large group, learning to hear and sing harmony, and learning concert etiquette. That music background led to my learning to play clarinet and to not only continue piano lessons, but also learn to accompany. So by the time I was in high school, I had many opportunities to sing in a choir, to accompany soloists, and to play in a band.
I think what's remarkable about it all is that this was a small, rural community. Most classes had only 20-30 students. But, somehow we were blessed with some top-notch teachers, and they gave me the opportunity to find my passion in the arts, nurture it, and give it expression. I am so thankful that this was the case.
My involvement in the arts has continued to this day in one way or another. When I hear of schools cutting back on instruction in the arts, I stand aghast.