It doesn’t matter if your child is a sheep in the kindergarten Christmas pageant, or the lead actor in a Tony-award winning Broadway musical, the sense of pride when a mother watches her baby perform is overwhelming! You just want to grab a microphone, climb to the top of the Empire State Building, and shout to the world, “HEY, THAT’S MY KID!”
Tonight, my 14-year old daughter Melissa took to the stage for the Medford Memorial Middle School Winter Chorus Concert for her first solo performance! As I watched, fighting back the tears of pride, I journeyed back to her second grade spring concert, when my baby auditioned, and was subsequently denied a solo part. Every year since then, she has auditioned for solo parts in the school chorus, only to be denied again, and again, and again. Yet, with each disappointment came a renewed sense of determination to try again, and again, and again.
I watched Melissa grow as a singer, musician, and performer. In 5th grade she began playing the flute, and even though she joined the band a year later than most of the students, she advanced quickly and became just as good as her classmates who had more experience. With 6th grade came a transition to a new school, and an ambition to join both the band and the chorus. In 7th grade, she again joined the band and the chorus, and got into the Memorial Singers, a more advanced chorus charged with bringing more beautiful and difficult arrangements to life.
Band and chorus gave Melissa a deep appreciation for all things musical. Soon, her father’s 25-year old guitar came out of hiding to find a new life in the hands of a teenager girl determined to learn the chords. Self-taught lessons via the internet came first, formal guitar lessons came next, and a recital in front of a small group of people followed. Each audition and each lesson not only helped improve her musical talent, it built her self-esteem and transformed a shy little girl into an expressive young lady, ready for her spotlight at Medford Memorial Middle School.
Melissa sang a solo for a traditional African song called Bonse Aba. As I watched, nothing else mattered. The world froze. All that existed was my daughter, my beautiful daughter, who auditioned year, after year, and worked so hard, to finally show the world (or at least the middle school parents) how far she has come!
Congratulations Melissa, I love you!