Saturday, June 02, 2007


Had to add a separate entry about Math Boy (new fun name that my son and I have settled on for him). There will be no pictures for this entry, although there really should be. Why? Let me explain.

Last night Math Boy's Montessori school held their annual end of the year "Festivities." It was kind of like a pageant: each class performed something they have been working on for a while that fit with the international theme that the school chose to use this year. Nearly all the teachers are from other countries, so each class generally did something to fit with the heritage of its teacher.

Because this was Math Boy's first year at the school, we really did not understand what a big deal this was. I did not think to bring the video camera. Math Boy told me that his class was doing an authentic Filipino dance--their teacher is from the Phillipines. That was pretty much all he told me.

We arrive for the evening, and a friend asked me if Math Boy was nervous about playing the piano for everyone. WHAT? He never mentioned that. Sure enough, at the beginning of the evening, it is announced that some children will play piano at the end of the evening, as accompaniment to a slide show about the school year. My son is reported as one of them, playing the First Movement from Khachaturian's Toccata (go here to hear someone playing it). And, again, I said WHAT?! As far as I knew, he hadn't played that in months. The sheet music was at home. Gathering dust. Sure, he did learn it through and through, but that was months ago and it's a darn hard piece and what does he think he's doing telling everyone he can perform that piece in front of all these parents and all I could think about was what a recipe for disaster this was. Rich told me I had better go find Math Boy and find out what's going on.

I sneaked backstage and was fortunate enough to find Math Boy quickly. He assured me that he has been practicing the piece at school and he's going to be fine. He doesn't need the music; he still has it memorized. Relax, Mom.

I went back to sit down. The preschool class productions were very cute, although kind of a mess. The songs were probably a little too long for these little ones (ages 3, 4 and 5) to keep their focus. There was one little girl who kept taking her dress off. The teacher's assistant kept putting it back on and tried to hide the girl behind the curtain, but she was bound and determined to disrobe in the spotlight. One boy discovered the side-stage door and kept running in and out, over and over.

Then Math Boy's elementary class (covering ages 6 through 12) did their Filipino martial arts dance with sticks, and it was great. They clearly had practiced quite a bit and had a lot of fun. The girls in the class had opted to do a harvest dance, which also was lovely. I settled down to worry about the piano perfomances, which were scheduled to take place at the end of the evening. But little did I know what was coming.

Math Boy had mentioned at some point during the year that he was doing the part of Peter Pan in a song the music class was doing. I thought it was just something they worked on in class. He did not tell me that was for the end of the year festivities. He did tell me that the kids were singing a Beatles medley for the music teacher and that we would see that during the festivities. So I was not surprised when the elementary kids came out and did a rousing version of Yellow Submarine, etc. But I totally unprepared for Math Boy to take the microphone and do the part of Peter Pan in a full length version of "I Won't Grow Up." The funny thing was that when he did pick up the mike, Rich and I both thought he was messing around and that he would get in trouble. Then he started singing. With a Microphone. By himself, for a lot of the time. And he was good. I don't think I breathed until it was over.

In the end, the piano performances did not really matter, because the evening was so rife with technical difficulties that it went very late and because the folks in charge could not make the slideshow work. Worse, nobody went up on the stage to let the audience know what was going on. I think most of the audience simply forgot about the planned slideshow/piano concert and just stood up and started collecting their kids and chatting with each other. Eventually the piano kids came out and did their numbers, but only those of us who wanted to listen--and who pushed our way up to the front so we actually could hear--got to hear them. That ended up being about 15 parents. And I need not have worried about Math Boy--he definitely knew that piece, without music, and impressed the few of us actually listening.

All I have of this evening is my memory. I missed a major video moment in my son's life--and, frankly, we don't really get that many. He says he did not tell us too much about the Peter Pan song because he was embarrassed. He forgot to tell me about the piano. I'm still a little shell-shocked by the whole thing. I was so blown away while we were there that I completely forgot to make him and his friends pose in their costumes for a picture, so I don't even have that.

I am very proud of him for everything he did. I just wish I could have had more warning!

1 comment:

Laura said...

Sydney, I loved reading this post. What a special event - and wow - no video. What's really important is that you were THERE. Thank Heaven you didn't say "oh, I need to go to knit night" or whatever other thing. Thank goodness his sister wasn't ill and you had to stay home! You were there. It won't be a big deal to him in the grand scheme of things but you know what.... he would never forget for the rest of his life (probably) if you hadn't been there. :)