Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Clifton Park Christmas show.

My buddy Glenn, that's him there in the brown coat and Santa hat, is the Musical Director at Clifton Park Elementary here in Killeen. He's one of those guys who's done lots of stuff in his life. He managed a bunch of Taco Bells for years after getting his college degree in music. When people ask him how he can stand to teach little kids in a public school he tells them "Hell, I've made lots of money before and been miserable. Nowadays I dance and sing with little kids for a living."

We've been teaching near one another, on Base and elsewhere, for a decade or more. I first got to know him when we both taught at the jail in Gatesville about ten years ago. He was teaching college Music classes for Tarleton (now Texas A&M Central Texas) while I taught History and/or Government for CTC. For a year or two recently he was teaching his classes across the hall from me on base. When he'd crank up some great old rock, country or blues tune the sound would waft through the walls and rafters and leak into my lecture. My students would get a funny look on their face and stare up at the wall, and then they'd begin to laugh as my head started to bang and shoulders started to jump with the beat. It was great.

This last year, when Denise took a trip to Kentucky to see her pregnant daughter, I was left with an extra ticket to see Derrek Trucks in Dallas. I asked a few other folks but no one was interested. Finally I asked Glenn, and he agreed to go with me. We both had a great time. Since then we've gone to a few other concerts, and our women have even joined us a few times. We've all hit it off really well. He told me about the school Christmas show a few weeks ago, and I told him Denise and I would love to come and see what he's done with these kids.

The show was held in the schools auditorium, with all the parents and families packing the place. By the time we got there it was standing room only, and the heat in the room was stifling.

After beginning with the 5th grade choir singing a few Christmas carols, the 2nd graders began their country and western themed show.

They did stuff like jumping over rails laid out on the ground, twisting around with rubber balls (above) or dancing with hula hoops, It looked like they'd practiced for the show in PE class. I was worn out just watching it all.

These kids were cute as hell. It all reminded me of a time when I was about their age. The 5th or 6th graders in our school in England were doing Macbeth in front of a crowd of their parents. They got us 2nd graders to play trees. We all painted the leaves, cut from paper, colored and taped to our rulers. We were herded onto the stage at the right moment and became the forest that comes alive at one point in the play.

Some of the kids played instruments, but most of the music was provided by a tape machine, or a few folks that Glenn had asked to come.

You can see them there, on guitar and bongos. They all did a wonderful job.

At one point I moved out into the hall and walked down to another door to try to get a better shot. I discovered quickly that the temperatures in the hall were ten or fifteen degrees cooler than in the auditorium. I signaled Denise and we joined the parents there who were all tryin' to get better close shots of their kids.

In the end, Denise and I applauded the kids, waited a bit for the crowd to thin and told Glenn that it had been a great show. Then we left, tellin' Glenn we'd see them Saturday. Denise headed home while I went to pick up our dinner. We'd called in an order to the Pizza Palace from the school. So we ended the day with a wonderful, thick, medium sized double pie with all the meat and fixin's we love. That and a cold Yuengling and I was a happy camper.

As I said, we'll see Glenn and his wife this Saturday. They'll drive down from their home in Waco. We'll all meet here, and then we'll drive down to Austin and have dinner somewhere. Then we'll attend the late show of Esther's Follies. It should be a great time.


BRUNO said...

I don't know if I could've played the part of a TREE or not---but I'd probably made an excellent MOSS-COVERED ROTTEN LOG ON THE GROUND...???

FHB said...

Really. Me too.