Oh heavens! I forgot to let you know about the fifth grade musical! “What’s that?” you may well ask. Well, it involves the fifth graders and they sing and dance (as if you hadn’t figured it out already). It’s something the music teacher produces each year and it’s a big enough deal that they actually stage it at a school with a real stage and real seats. They even had a real light/sound guy. He was also the guy with the keys to the door so he was “da man”.

It was a big hit. Most parents will pay money to see their little darlings on stage in the spotlight and this night was no different. They really should consider reserved seating since competition for the first few rows was pretty keen. Normally, I might be well-mannered and offer my seat to some of the other moms but this time I showed no mercy. “Get back!” I said; waiving my tripod at them like a lance. I can never believe how some people will get to something like this late and then march up the the front and ask if these seats are taken. How stupid is that? I want to yell “Of course they’re taken! We’ve been here for 20 minutes and my brother in law had to go take a leak! GET HERE ON TIME AND STOP ASKING STUPID QUESTIONS! TO THE BACK ROW WITH THEE FOOL!” Good thing I’m not in charge or the world would be a much meaner place.

I suppose the music teacher takes this job on as an excuse to stress herself out just a little bit more. She cranked up the tension a couple of clicks on her barrettes and forged ahead. I swear, she always has a look on her face like that of a day-trading stock broker. I’ve never seen her smile a real smile; one that didn’t look fake. I spotted her at the grocery store the other day and she still had the same look about her. She’s never going to make it past age 40.

But, to the musical. It was one of those productions where the kids stand on risers and swing their arms, snap their fingers, and sing (sort of like The Pips used to do behind Gladys Knight) but, more than that, we were treated to frequent solos. I can’t imagine how those kids were able to step up to the mike and sing solo like that but many of them did and quite a few of them were kids that we had never imagined as the singing types. All the songs were fairly recent pop tunes and were very well received. Except that the music teacher would occasionally leave her “conductor’s” spot and walk up on the stage among them to address some perceived problems. Sort of like she did during rehearsals but since this was during the performance, you could hear parents grumbling under their breath “down in front, I’m not here to get video of your backside.” Or maybe it was just me.

Yes, I videotaped the whole thing. I was only following orders. One of the moms had already videotaped the dress rehearsal so I was not tapped to be the ‘official’ photographer. I will brag however that that mom’s own little girl specifically asked for a copy of mine since it was the “real” performance. Ha! They also borrowed mine to show to the classes at school during the ‘cast party’. There were many video cameras in use at the time but only one was on for the entire thing. I’m told that most others were pretty shaky as well; they looked as if the musical was videotaped from the seat of a four-wheeled drive vehicle.

Evan had thought all along that this was cool because, as the performance drew near, he and his buddies got to get out of class to rehearse. But after seeing the reaction of the audience and how grandma had come all the way from out of state to see him and how a large number of cast members and families all showed up for ice cream at Braum’s for a spontaneous cast party, he began to realize that there was more to it than just getting out of class. They all seemed to think so. For a brief moment, everybody was in a good mood at the same time, everybody was nice to everybody else, and there were no class distinctions. Everybody was a ‘cast member’ and everybody was pumped up with the positive energy of the performance. Maybe that’s what the music teacher had in mind.