(Tonight I found this sitting unfinished in my drafts from last May. I read it and just smiled. I needed this now, a memory of when thing were “normal.”)
Happy May! For me, May means I can see the end of school year *just* a little bit down the road! May also means the “Annual All School Talent Show.” I happen to be one of the two organizers and we got started this week.
During day one of “try-outs” (don’t worry – everyone gets to participate) we divided the group of 40 participants into smaller groups. J worked with one and I worked with the other. I took my nervous little team and sat in cozy corner of the library with a clipboard and called out the first act from the list. A pair of big eyed kindergarten boys read some jokes and then told me they would need drums.
“Yes, so we can ba-dum-chhhh between jokes.”
“I see you have put a lot of thought into that. We will figure something out,” and I made a note on my list.
I move on to the next participant. The sweetest little girl steps up. I wait for her to tell me she is going to sing a Disney song, twirl a baton, maybe perform a dance from her ballet but instead, she tells me her talent is…. falling and she will need a mat. “Oh, and you should probably announce that my talent is falling so no one worries about me.”
I blink….”OK then, sounds good sweetie….Next?”
After the falling girl, one of my favorite kindergartners steps up – R. She is sassy, smart and quick. One time, I was coloring with R and another girl, D. D tells us she is wearing her mother’s wedding ring. A little voice in my head went “Uh Oh.” And I said “let me see sweetie.” Fortunately it was NOT a wedding ring, but while D was showing me the wedding ring, R says, “Ummmm….. the whole point of a wedding is that you don’t take it off!” Funniest comment all day. All week.
During the try-out, R stood there, hand on hip and informed me that she “Wasn’t afraid of anything,” she told me the requirements for her skit would be a “Flaming backdrop. Oh…..” she added, “And is it Okay if I wear sparkly clothes?” I told her she could, in fact, wear sparkly clothes, you see, I think sparkly clothes are actually her talent.
Others were more conflicted. They had no idea what their talent was. I helped them choose a page from a book to read, or gave them a joke to tell. I sent one boy home to have his parents help him find a magic trick. He came back the next day and told me that he now had an assistant. What he needed from me was a box of *pretend* body parts and a saw. He assured me it didn’t need to be a chain saw, just a regular saw. Holy Crap. I am giving this kid’s mom a call.
Besides falling girl, there were other surprises. The wiggliest little rough and tumble boy said he was going to sing. Did I want to hear? Then he sang, well, he actually rapped and beatboxed really, really well. He did not need anything from me but a mic. A pair of girls were going to sing the national anthem. ‘Oh No’ I thought… They did not know it, which is fine. We have lots of time to practice. I asked them to sing something for me though, and one asked if I wanted to hear them sing “Silent Night?”
“Sure,” I said, I couldn’t fathom how it would sound, I braced myself, willing myself to keep a smile on my face.
They sang like angels. ANGELS. It gave me goosebumps. So much better than what I imagined. You just never know.
In the end there were a lot of karate “skills”. A lot of “singing.” A lot of dancing. Tumbling. Joke telling. Juggling. A rubik’s cube (I know. What could be worse to watch, but he did it serously fast!) And.. for me.. there were a lot surprises and smiles. I know the kids were nervous… well.. .all except R of course, because she is not afraid of anything, and I just wanted them to have a good experience.
The talent show turned out just fine. A few let nerves get the better of them, singers forgot words to songs, one little girl just came out and blinked at the audience. The falling girl went on vacation, R went rouge and danced and danced and danced in her sparkly clothes. She was gently herded off stage by our sixth grade M. C’s. There were a few polished acts, some beautiful singers – heck, one kid finished a rubik’s cube in under a minute! It was a lovely mix of talent, charm and abundant cuteness! And I just have to hand it to them, they are so brave!