April 29th, 2004

Frank The Bunny (Countdown)

A Suburb Of Hell

If you are a parent of an elementary school child...you know of what I speak. Happens every so often, and you gotta attend it. If you don't, you know how you are gonna look to that child, and it's not pretty. Doesn't matter how much pain you'll be in, it's just one of those things.

I speak, of course, of the elementary school choir concert.

Yep, just went through one, myself. For those of you that have never had the 'pleasure" of suffering sitting through one, let me describe it for you. Take 30-40 8-year-old kids, put them in a loose group, on stage, in front of all their parents and teachers. Stand an elementary school music teacher in front of them to 'lead' them in song. Now, force them to stand there, singing the dopiest songs known to man, while attempting to follow some sort of bizarre movements, while singing, so that they aren't complete zombies.

However bad an image you just got, it's only about half as bad as you think.

Let's break down the points. The songs, well, you're not gonna get Nesson Dorma out of an 8-year-old, we all know this. At least this part you can plan for; you know you're gonna sit through 'Skip To My Lou' and other childhood "favourites", like it or not. Add to this the general ability of a second-grader to sing...which is to say, not at all, and that's only when s/he remembers the words in the first place...knowing that they will emphasize(i.e. "shout") any short, hard words. Now, the movements. Is there some reason these elementary school music teachers feel the need to add sign language to every damn song? I figure it's just to work off the wiggles that the kids are gonna get...and it doesn't work. The whole group ends up looking like the epileptic's day at the zoo.

Of course, you're always going to have one or two that are gonna lock up and freeze, stagefright in full bloom. If you're REALLY unlucky, it'll be one that has a solo or some other outstanding part. Plus, you'll have a few class clowns, who have to either make faces, distract the others, or do basically anything they can for a laugh. Then you have the princesses, those little girls who are overdressed for the occasion, and who have obviously been told all their lives how pretty they are; they've got the uber-pretty dress, hat, shoes, and smile. There's generally a runt, placed front and center (s/he can't see, otherwise), which means they're easy to point out and giggle over. Then there's the bored ones, the ones that are only half singing, half paying attention, and half aware of their surroundings. They are generally the ones that move the most, just because they will fall asleep if they don't.

The teacher? Man, is there anything more pathetic than an elementary school music teacher? No other educator has so little to do in life...and it shows. They seem to think this production they are putting on is something akin to a Broadway musical or a show at the Hollywood Bowl...and I guess, for them, it is; what else do they have to show for the year? Sad little people, they try hard to be funny and entertain you (because the caterwauling kids sure ain't gonna do it) and basically fail. Meanwhile, they come up with some title or something, but nothing fits the theme...and, in true American tradition, half of the songs are old standards, but the lyrics have been changed for no apparent reason.

And then there are the parents.

At least, with the advent of digital photography, you don't have to hear a thousand click-wind-wind-wind-clicks every minute or two...you just get to hear click-fzzssss-click every two minutes. These kids are standing in one place for half an hour, but they feel the need to take 200 pictures...unless they are the ones with the video cameras, who have to wander around in everyone's way, getting that perfect angle on their kid...because I'm sure they'll treasure this for at least the next week or so. Always have a few with babies, screaming in the middle of the performance (not that you mind, since the screaming baby is generally more on key than the ones singing).

Oh well. I looked good for showing up.
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I'm awful impressed with myself...theatresphynx pops up on me with the oddest icon request I've ever heard, and yet i got it done, hand-done anuimation and all, in about 10, maybe 15 minutes. After hearing where it comes from, I thought delilahbowie would appreciate it, too.



Apparently, it's from an Eddie Izzard comedy bit. I don't writes 'em, I just makes 'em.
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