It’s that time of year again where the kindness of strangers and the beauty of children sometimes, if lucky, surpass the stress of the season. I am happy to report that it worked out that way for me one Saturday, a week or so before Christmas and while I was in the midst of a family crisis.
If that paragraph sparked your interest in the latest Bushman fiasco, sorry to disappoint, but for once I will not be reporting a play-by-play of my families’ personal woes. It will have to suffice to say, just this one time I promise, that the family emergency caused Eddie to miss out on his daughter’s singing recital that day.
If you’re a stalwart Eve of Destruction reader you may remember last year’s recital notes at the end of a quickly thrown together holiday column. Something along the lines of me listing all of the young singer’s names and holding the bridge of my nose during their performance. That part remains the same. But getting to there was completely different this time.
Arriving early at Vibe Performing Arts Studio I still didn’t remember until a few minutes before the performance that Ed had told me that our video camera would require film. Considering my state of mind it was amazing that I remembered it at all, my stress level was reaching it’s threshold. The young, dark-haired, always helpful and clever employee behind the counter called the owner of the studio in search of a replacement film for me. When that led to a negative answer he probed and prodded every nook and cranny within his reach for an extra one left lying about. To no avail.
Then one of the other parents came over to investigate. He pulled out his cellular phone to dial 411 to see if the Texaco station across the parking lot sold VHS tapes. No go. He opened my recorder and after a dutiful inspection declared that I had just enough tape to see me through the event. I thanked them both a little too profusely because both had the intuitiveness to see that I was distressed about more than videotape. And they had the compassion not to comment on it.
Fast forward to the concert. Samantha’s natural “head voice” rang through as expected and even though I did my best to capture it for Ed to watch later I’m afraid that my hands were a tad too shaky. Sorry Captain.
Then I noticed that the youngest singer to perform was having difficulty getting to the stage. She climbed in and out of Miss Leota’s lap as well as her mother’s, seemingly searching for the comfort and support she needed. My mother, who had readily accepted Eddie’s unused invitation, commented that she had spoken to the child’s mother before the performance and had been told that the singer was a little nervous to perform in front of her mother. Since there was no way out of that I wondered how it would all work out.
After some other fine performances, the little girl, Alissa, was finally coaxed up on stage. Well not quite on the stage. She and her mother sat on the second step, Alissa comfortably wrapped in her mother’s arms, microphone shared between them. That’s when I recognized her mom. I had met her a few weeks prior when our daughter’s shared a lesson and had learnt they were fairly new SCV residents.
All was still save for one video camera. And who should be holding it? You guessed it! None other than the gentlemen that had come to my aid earlier! The audience joined Alissa in her rendition on Yankee Doodle with some very enthusiastic hand clapping. We were all so enthralled with her efforts that we persuaded her into doing an encore!
I have to admit holding the bridge of my nose did nothing at this point. Another mother complemented my daughter’s singing while one beautiful child after another took the stage. I started to wonder which student received the most applause. But then the two teachers, Leota Penny and David Jennings, each in turn took the stage to perform themselves. The students, and the parents, rewarded these two teachers with a well-deserved thunderous applause.
The children that raised their voice in solo and group performances that day all deserve another ovation: Sophie Wessell—“The Christmas Song”, Samantha Bushman—“Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?”, Danielle Bouquet—“Beauty and the Beast”, Alissa Padilla—“Yankee Doodle”, Christina Rogee—“He’s My Guy”, Amanda Marshall—“A Dream is a Wish”, Tiffany Manio—“Do Re Mi”, Aina Abad—“Once Upon a December”, Aimee Newton—“Dreaming of you” and Sara Lamog—Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.
Thanks teachers, staff and parents for giving our children something to sing about! And thanks again to Alissa’s dad for helping to change a stressful situation into a holiday event to remember.