Saturday, March 27, 2010

Show Stopper

Weeks of work and worry culminated in a triumphant evening for my daughter and many of her friends. As a senior and a member of student council at Byrd High School, she has participated for weeks in the planning and production of the school's year-end talent showcase, Buzz Fest.
Not only did she schedule rehearsals and help coordinate them, she also wrote a skit, helped with costumes, conceptualized much of the show and performed on top of all that. (Click here to see her big moment, or see the video embedded below). For the past week, she was under enormous stress. She and the others wanted so badly for the show to be entertaining and well-run. Given the level of excitement in the room, I can say with confidence they succeeded.
Let's review my daughter's many personas during the show. There was the mean teacher who chased kids from their cars in the minutes before the opening bell...During a song and dance parody of current popular music, she appeared as the young singer with the "party" reputation, Ke$ha: ("The party don't start 'til I walk in...")
And she was in 80's-style workout gear for the closing dance extravaganza set to the song "Evacuate the Dance Floor."
But it was four minutes in the second act that left me teary-eyed and breathless. She calmly took the stage with one of her buddies to perform a song called "Hope for Me Yet," by Marc Broussard. I knew she was singing in the show, but she had not let anyone in her family hear her rehearsals. Before the show started, a couple of teachers approached me and asked if I had heard their arrangement of the song. I had not. There were subtle raises of eyebrows and little nods.
I knew the crew that had been hired to make the official DVD of the show and they had seen dress rehearal. Before the show, one of the guys walked up to me and said, "Isn't that your daughter singing the Marc Broussard song?" I said, "Yes."
He said, "Wow. Don't worry. I'll get a DVD burned for you quickly. You'll want to keep that." Despite all the build-up, I just wasn't prepared for the experience.
When they were finished, the ovation was ear-splitting. This was a show, but also a contest. A couple of the judges said to me afterward, "She sang so beautifully and effortlessly."
Everything you need to know about how she did can be summed up by the reaction of her usually reserved older brother, who just loathes having attention drawn to him in public settings. He stood up and shouted.
I was simply struck silent. After the show, I couldn't take five steps without someone from her adoring public stopping me to tell me they were just blown away. See, the thing is, with the exception of a lightly-attended community theater fundraiser, she has never really sung in public. Basically, nobody knew she could sing. She just dropped a big-note bomb on them and left them stunned.She has no aspirations to sing in college or anywhere else. She's content to be a one-hit wonder, like Gwynneth Paltrow or something.
That's fine with me. I'm finally breathing normally again.

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