Tuesday, October 26, 2010

That's my girl

Last week, I was fortunate to attend my daughter's first orchestral concert of the year. This week (tonight, in fact), I was able to attend her first choral concert. I'm pleased on both accounts. In last week's concert, she conducted one of the pieces. This week, she sang in the a Capella and treble choirs. She will be playing with the chamber orchestra in November, and I'm hoping my travel schedule doesn't conflict. I could brag more about her cello playing, but that wasn't the intent of this post. I'll save it for later.

Tonight's concert, though, I was particularly pleased. This was the first time I had seen her sing since she was in the All City choir in fourth grade. I saw back when she was six and singing along with pop tunes (matching their technique) that she could not only carry a tune but do it artfully. Somewhere along the line, something happened: one or more of her peers made cutting remarks, maybe I said something that she took the wrong way, whatever. She lost confidence, and she lost interest.

So this year, when she threw caution and a clear-cut path to graduation to the wind and took four music classes, I was a little concerned. Yet, she auditioned for three ensembles and made all three. I took too few risks. She took a small one this year, and I'm proud of her for doing it.

There was also another very nice surprise. The director put together a 100-minute program including nine religious pieces, most of which came from the Catholic tradition. I was pleased enough to hear religious music being performed so beautifully by a high-school choir. The director explained that this was all in preparation for a section they're doing on Renaissance music. She then added that most of these pieces came from the Catholic Church.

Now, from junior high on, my daughter's teachers have included both religious and secular pieces in their programs, which is to their credit. The bulk of our musical heritage comes from religious works or popular devotional works. However, I was quite frankly stunned that she would even bring this fact to the audience's attention. And I'm gratified that she did. Music seems to be, in a sense, a last bastion of Catholic tradition in our schools. If it disappears from there, what will we have left?

So I was gratified by the program. As a side, I would mention that only one or two of the pieces I recognized to be from the Renaissance. Most seemed to be Baroque or early classical. Perhaps the director was being a bit subversive. If so, I'm in cahoots with her completely.
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