In sixth grade I loved music class. All of the sixth grade classrooms at Knollwood Elementary came together as the sixth grade choir. Within the group, some were more elite than others. There was a small select choir who sang special parts of the program. Membership in this exclusive group was by invitation of the music teacher. My friend and neighbor, Peggy McGinnis, was in the select group. Peggy and I had a lot in common. We lived on the same small street and hung out in the cu-de-sac playing kick-the-can on those long, warm California evenings. We each had an annoying brother two years younger, and we both loved to sing. Peggy always did everything right. She knew the answer to every question. She was neat and tidy. She never blurted out in class and was always in her seat. I did none of those things. But, we both liked to sing. Why wasn’t I in the select choir?
If you wanted to be in the select choir, Peggy told me, you had to audition for the teacher. That was why I wasn’t in the choir… I just hadn’t known that I needed to audition. So I confidently marched up to the music teacher and told him that I needed to audition. In my mind, it was just a formality. So the next Monday I stayed after school and met the teacher in the auditorium. He sat at the piano and asked me to sing. I don’t remember the song, but I do know that I belted it out with my usual enthusiasm. The teacher thanked me for auditioning. He explained to me how important it was to have strong voices in the general choir. Those voices were an important reason our choir was so good. He was counting on me to continue to keep the general choir strong. I left knowing that I was making an important contribution to my class.
It was years later that I realized that I had failed the audition. How fortunate I was to have a teacher who knew how to maintain his standard of excellence (because I know now that I cannot carry a tune), but still allow a small child to maintain her dignity and passion for music.
Written by #1Nana