Friday, May 4, 2012

A Jury of Peers

Every year my school puts on a talent show, and it doesn't disappoint. While teenage perception is not always in line with reality, one thing always impresses me: they get up and try. As student after student parades on stage, unafraid of performing in front of several hundred peers, I am nothing short of amazed. Sometimes their piano concertos are flawless. Other times their vocal performance comes out wavering and off key. One dance number might be perfectly choreographed while another silently confesses the shallow desire for the limelight.

As the show progresses it feels like an endless, unpredictable bag of tricks: a unicycle rider in a cow costume, an 80's tune lipsynced by characters in black hoods embelished with unicorn horns, a teacher singing a children's song while playing the ukulele. Inevitably you end up with predictable vocal performances of "Someone Like You" while a wavering voice seeks to duplicate a grammy winner's artistic flare, but even with such cliche song choices I am impressed by any teenage girl's audacity to play a song on the piano while singing in front a crowd full of potential critics.

At the end of the day I'm proud of the bold ones that graced the stage, the audience that was (mostly) respectful and cheered after every act, the preparation and planning of most of the students and the teachers that were willing to facilitate and organize a mess of chaos into a thematic performance that had me cheering and laughing. It was a great finale for a week that was exhausting and a testimony to the good parts of teaching that make the mess of it all worthwhile.

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