November 30, 2012

At the twilight's last gleaming

Tonight, my husband and I went downtown to watch a professional soccer game. Well, to be honest, we weren’t actually there to watch soccer. Unlike the hundreds of sports fans who crowded into the stands, we went mostly to hear the national anthem. It was sung by three high school kids — two girls and my son With-a-Why.

I wondered he’d be nervous singing in front of a couple thousand people. I think I would have been. When the announcer said, “Please rise for the national anthem,” everyone in the stadium stood up, went silent, and stared right at the three kids. If it was me, I would have turned and run from the field. But all three kids seemed completely calm. With-a-Why stood at the microphone just as if he was standing in our living room and sang his part in a clear voice.

With-a-Why was a shy child, and as a teenager, he’s still pretty quiet. He doesn’t talk unless he has something to say. But he’s not the least bit shy when he sits down at the piano, or stands up to sing. Music has transformed him from the kid who used to hide behind his hair to the poised, self-confident young man who has played piano for many recitals and has sung solos in front of crowds.

With-a-Why has many different talents -- he's smart, creative, athletic, and artistic -- and I have no doubt he will succeed at anything he does in life. But music is the passion that pulls him out of his shell, challenges him, and makes him believe he can be part of something larger than himself.


tracynicholrose said...

Having such a passion, especially at a young age, is a gift. Angel is still searching for his and it pains him.

Somehow I can't imagine you being shy in front of a crowd.

jo(e) said...

Oh, I wouldn't be shy about talking or reading or dancing in front of a crowd. But singing?

This may have something to do with the fact that I can't carry a tune. My kids are living proof that musical talent can skip a generation.

Anonymous said...

This post is so encouraging to me.
My son is also very shy--he's 8--and also doesn't talk much (at school particularly), and hides behind his hair, so to speak. Doesn't like crowds, etc.
For him, too, music is the thing that is pulling him out of his shell. He has played trumpet for a while, and just this year started guitar. There's something about the guitar that is giving him a new confidence, and I am so thankful for that!
Thanks for the post!

--Neighbor Lady

Anonymous said...

p.s. Congratulations to your son on his performance! Wow!
--Neighbor Lady

patricia said...

I'm glad you and your kids are doing so well.

Melissa Sarno said...

I love this. Music is powerful and it can transform us, in so many ways : )

Elaine said...

I'm a music therapist Joe. You've just told one part of the story of my work. Thank-you.

Kris said...

I can't remember how long I've been reading your blog but for quite a while now. I just thought I'd let you know that my almost nine year old boy/girl twins are set to graduate from a three and half year music program in February. I have to attend classes with them and it's been quite a commitment what with all the time and the practicing and my daughter not really loving it. But, I stuck with it and we went on days we didn't really want to go and we practiced when we didn't really want to.

Reading about your sons and how they play with their friends and their grandfather has been my inspiration. Even you taking up lessons inspired me. I want that love of music for my kids and my family.

When we recently remodeled our living room, I took cues from your family and designed the space to be a music room / library.

Thanks for sharing your musical family with us strangers -- maybe someday our sons will end up on the same stage.

jo(e) said...

Kris: Oh, that's wonderful to hear.

I'm still taking piano lessons myself -- learning VERY SLOWLY compared to my kids, but I'm enjoying it.