Suffer the Medium-Sized Children

ChildrensChoirCoverI have always wondered what sort of Gandhi-esque character it takes to teach elementary school music. A million years ago I taught at the junior high level, and it nearly broke me. But earlier this year, I decided that I really, really wanted a children’s chorus to open for my band, Chaise Lounge, at our annual hometown Christmas concert. Since no music teacher wants to take on another concert at this time of year, the only solution was for me to start a glee club at my local elementary school. For the past six weeks, I have been rehearsing holiday classics with fourth-grade volunteers after school. I think I now see that you don’t have to be a saint to do this. You just have to show up and accept the kids as they are: with all their energy, earnestness, chatter, and distractability coming at you all at once. I don’t think I have put together an award-winning performing group, but these kids sing with passion. At the show, they will perform eight songs by themselves, and then join Chaise Lounge for the first song of our set: “Snow Day,” a local hit with students and teachers alike. When this all started, I wasn’t sure I would be up to the task. Now I find that I am already thinking about next year.