That’s my boy
Growing up one of my family’s favorite movies was “The Music Man.”
For those unfamiliar with it, it is about a conman salesman who travels the countryside selling band instruments and uniforms with the promise that he will teach them to become a marching band.
For the scheme to work, he needs to leave town before the actual instruments arrive and people find that he has no musical training at all.
One of my favorite scenes in the show is at its dramatic climax when the town’s residents confront him and the young people come to his defense and start playing, badly. Oh so badly.
Yet, the parents react with pride calling out their boys and asking them to play to them.
Other than an ill-fated attempt by my oldest sister when she was about 13 to coordinate my brothers and sisters and I into a family band, my family has a notable lack of talent when it comes to singing, playing instruments and performing. As far as the band attempts, while my sister may have had dreams of being part of the next Partridge Family, our notes more closely resembled pigeons that didn’t get out of the way of a school bus fast enough.
This is not to say that we have a total lack of appreciation for music and performances, quite the contrary. We greatly admire people who can sing and dance and carry an audience with their antics. We just recognize that the good Lord gives each of us different skills and some of us can’t carry a tune if you gave us a bucket to carry it with.
I have long-since abandoned any hidden dream I may have had about becoming a rock star and going on a world tour.
Last weekend the Medford Choir program put on the annual Red/White spotlight. My son, Alex, was one of the emcees in this year’s show and performed with the concert choir.
While I did not attend every single performance last weekend, my wife did. To be fair, she was also helping out selling tickets and assisting students so she had some plausible reason to attend each show. At least a reason more plausible than seeing if this would be the performance where Alex would miss the edge of the stage and end up crashing after running full speed from the back of the auditorium. He never did, but every time he came barreling down the aisle making Tarzan noises, I braced for disaster and a trip to the emergency room.
For many of the students, the bright lights of the Red/White Theatre stage are the closest they will get to Broadway. For others, the applause and joy of performing can lead to a lifelong career, if not on the stage then being involved in making the magic happen for others.
For me, I was happy to have the chance to see my son and his classmates perform and gently tease him afterward for his truly awful Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation.
Perhaps I am just over-compensating for the lingering guilt I have of not attending every single night of every show while my daughter was in school and I don’t want that guilt when Alex graduates next year.
Often, as parents, we are too busy with our own careers and lives to realize how fast our children are growing up. One moment they are rushing behind a toy truck running down the hallway as fast as they can, and the next moment they are the ones giving people rides home from the curling club after a bonspiel.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.