The big day. The big production. The Spring Concert. Lincoln School, fourth grade. We lived at the Prospect house. It was about a block from the school. Very close. It was convenient.
We worked all year for this. It was a big deal. Everyone dressed up. We were expected to look nice. Girls usually wore dresses. Not this girl. My idea of dressing up was not jeans, so some weird dress pants and a sweater, usually a long-sleeved shirt with a sweater vest over it. Very classy and dressy looking. For me, it was.
We practiced forever. Our music teacher was Mrs. Newman. She looked so young. Like she did her whole life. May she continue to rest in peace. Pretty sure it was her first teaching job. I can’t imagine being a music teacher. Maybe because I can’t imagine myself being able to learn music. I love it. I wish I could read it, or even know what a note is. I can’t. I don’t. I’m going to work on that this next year. I’m going to learn.
I liked music class. Singing was fun. I remember one assignment we had to find a song with a certain count or beat or whatever it’s called. We had to bring in the 45 record, remember those? We had to show her and have the class listen to the song and find that beat or count or whatever. I brought in the 45 Lorelei by Styx. It’s a good song, but I don’t think I got the assignment quite right. It was a good song though.
The reminder was yesterday. I was training one of my clients and the song Country Roads by John Denver came on the Spotify playlist. At the time I changed the song because I didn’t want to listen to it. It was such an old song after all. I told my client my fourth grade class had to sing that song at our spring concert. We laughed and talked about those concerts for a minute and then moved on.
Fourth grade Peggie went right back to the concert. The concerts were held at Riggs High School in the gymnasium. Each class had a designated place on the bleachers. We were told not to be disruptive and to listen to Mrs. Newman. Of course we were and of course we didn’t. Fidgeting was going on big time. As much as being a kid is fun, there was a lot of nervous energy flowing around, anxiety if you will. We were all nervous. Well, maybe not everybody. I was. The gym was filled with parents and relatives and other spectators. The time was now. Singing time. Everything we learned time. Mrs. Newman time.
I remember clearly we sang Country Roads by John Denver, and the song Sing, by The Carpenters. It was fun. I liked to sing. When our class performed Sing, we got fancy, some of the kids sang a different part of the song, while other kids sang another part of the song. Harmonies, perhaps? I told you I don’t know music. We sang the songs and I was devastated. I wanted it to be over. I wanted it to be done. I made a mistake singing Sing. I was embarrassed. Maybe nobody could tell.
The next week in class, we got to listen to the recording of the concert. The click of the recorder playback button made me sweat. It seemed extra loud for some reason. The song started. Sing. The la, la, la, la, la part, is pretty prominent in that song. The recording kept playing and in that one part of the la, la, la, la, la part, plain as day, clear as a bell, there was an extra la. It was me. The extra la was me. I wanted to crawl under my desk. I wondered if anyone knew it was me? Obviously whoever was standing beside me during the concert had to have known. I was embarrassed. I felt like an idiot. That mess up, that screw up, was recorded forever on that tape. Why me?
Things happen, kids make mistakes. Fourth grade mistakes feel like the end of the world mistakes. I recovered. Life went on and school went on. Music went on, but I learned from my mistake. I learned a really important lesson. I learned to never sing out loud at concerts again. La.