Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Performance Anxiety

The first time my son sang in a school choir concert, he was in third grade. It was not a triumph of inclusion. It was an obvious set-up for failure. He could not stand still and sing. He fidgeted, he bobbed, he pushed the kids around him, he kept his mouth shut, he looked miserable. Out in the audience, I looked miserable, too. I worried about all the parents taking videos, that all they would see forever after was my guy falling apart and ruining things for everybody. My discomfort was so obvious that another mom offered me her sympathies later. I guess I gave a pretty awful performance too.

The second time my son sang in a school choir concert, he was a senior in high school. Just this year, as a matter of fact. His return to choral performance was spurred by a need to have a fine or performing art credit to graduate, and the fact that choir fit in his schedule. But there he was, last Thursday night, taking the stage again, nervous mama in the audience. I worried when I saw his spot on the stage was dead center, front row, most conspicuous position possible. He fidgeted some, but he wasn't the only one. He didn't push, and he bobbed just a bit. More wonderfully, though, he sang. His mouth moved throughout, right on cue with the music. I could hear his voice, but in a good way, as part of the mix. No parent videos harmed.

Afterward, I ran to the choir room to grab him, assuming that he had used up all his control during the backstage waiting time and the onstage singing time. But he wanted to do what every other choir kid wanted to do -- hang around, talk to his friends, congratulate his classmates. He high-fived or hugged a few kids I didn't know, and enjoyed chatting with a few I did. All in all, it was a resoundingly successful night, and one that highlighted how far he's come. Maybe for the spring concert, I'll be able to sit back and relax. Although I understand he's been trying out for solos.


  1. AWESOME. Here's hoping he rocks his solo.

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