Jay decided at the beginning of the school year that he wanted to join his schools choir. This came as a surprise because a) he’s never really shown any great interest in singing b) he’s never shown any great interest in any kind of performing c) he comes from a long line of people with horrible singing voices (his mom included).
I am not one to discourage my childrens extracurricular interests though so I filled out the paperwork and every Tuesday morning, before classes started, he would go to rehearsal.
About a month ago he began saying he wanted to quit. He just didn’t like it, he said at first. Then I found out he was getting anxious about the upcoming shows. He dreaded getting up on stage and singing in front of a crowd. But as much as Shaunie likes to paint me as the “easy” parent and as much as I try to lean into the boys emotions and I tell them that their feelings are valid and their desires have a right to be acknowledged and taken into account, I made him stick it out. I was not comfortable with him quitting mid-season. He had made a commitment and needed to see it through. His teacher and the rest of the students in the choir had put in a lot of effort during their many hours of practice and they were depending on him (on each of them) to do their part and show up for the team. I told him that all the kids were probably nervous but they would get through it together. I asked him what would happen if they all decided now that they didn’t want to do the shows because they had stage fright. Plus, it wasn’t like he had to do a solo … Remember what I said about the families singing talents?
Ace encouraged him saying he too had been in his schools choir in the 5th grade and he too had been nervous but that in the end it was fun. Jay liked hearing that his older brother had experienced the same thing. It gave him some relief.
Still, he moaned and groaned and asked us NOT to come see him perfom and lost the check needed to buy his uniform shirt and then lost the shirt itself once the payment situation was sorted so we had to borrow one but …
They did their first show last week and it was really great. He smiled for pictures and waved at us in the audience.
I was so proud of him – and all the kids really.
I even appreciated that the songs were so diverse. They did Christmas songs and a Hanukkah song and even an old negro spiritual which didn’t sound very “old negro spiritually” coming from a bunch of elemetary school kids but still. It was delightful.
They have 3 more shows at the school this week and then a field trip to perform off-site next week. He hasn’t raised any concerns about those so I guess getting that first show out of the way was all he needed.
They start a new season in January and I’m not sure if he will sign up again – I won’t force him if he doesn’t want to. Either way, I will consider this experience a success.