I am too young to really remember this musical – it happened 13 years before I was born. I first watched it as a music teacher in the music room with a class full of high school students, and I was mesmerized.
I am not really a “musical” person. That’s kind of strange, since I was a music teacher for 21 years. I music-ed all the day long, so the last thing I wanted to hear was more music when I just wanted to watch a movie.
But some of my favorite memories from teacher days involve musicals performed by my students. You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Oklahoma!, Fiddler on the Roof, The Sound of Music. We did some big ones, we did. Rehearsals were grueling at times, and I became one of those actors on a Snickers commercial…
I know, I’m no Marilyn Monroe. I was Willem Dafoe.
As I sat in that classroom with those students who were more interested in talking to their friends rather than watching Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’Connor, I was transported. I was entertained. I wished I could dance. Me, the Quaker who never dances, wanted to have feet like theirs. I wished I was as sweet as Kathy Selden.
These three changed my tune. Because of Singin’ in the Rain, I learned to love musicals.
Today, I am grateful for the talent of others that makes life so much more entertaining and enjoyable.
I am grateful for Debbie Reynolds, Gene Kelly, and Donald O’Connor.
I am grateful for memories of high school choir after performances were over, when there wasn’t anything to plan and we could waste an hour of class to watch a musical and eat snacks.
I am grateful for memories of our musical performances – all of them. I am grateful that I had so many talented students who could pull off “the big ones” and made it so fun for their Willem Dafoe teacher.
I am grateful for the blue blanket and the Linus dance. And Brad’s Snoopy doing “Suppertime!”
I am grateful for the horse walking down the center aisle in the gym with Roman singing “There’s a bright golden haze on the meadow…”
I am grateful for singing nuns and Lacey’s “Climb Every Mountain” that made me cry.
I am grateful for an outdoor stage – how in the world did we ever make that happen – and chickens and Byron as Tevye and crying under the stars as the cast slowly walked off the stage pulling a cart to begin a new life.
I am grateful for Melissa’s accent as Ado Annie and for permission to use a starter pistol in the middle of the musical that scared me every time.
I am grateful for a cast of all girls at Elyria when we performed Charlie Brown my first year there.
I am grateful that the Farmer and the Cowman should be friends, which makes me grateful for years of having to teach folk dancing at St. George so that I could teach a bunch of high school students some basic circle dancing covered up by lots of “yee-haws!”, just hoping we didn’t get in trouble for dancing at a Christian school.
I am grateful that people don’t throw away old clothes so that we could borrow costumes from university theater departments.
I am grateful that after experiencing my wrath and craziness, all of my students didn’t walk out on me.
I am grateful that my parents came to see each one of the musicals even if it meant weekend visits.
Ah, I am grateful that I have some good memories…