The reason that I'm only just now getting today's post in, well after midnight, is that I was out all night dancing at a Rave. Just kidding. I was actually attending a high school musical in Saratoga Springs, NY. But the fact that I said I was attending a Rave just totally shows that I am now totally an old lady.
When I sang one of my first professional Cenerentolas almost 10 years ago at Lake George Opera, I was lucky enough to have been placed in the carriage house of this really nice family who had two little daughters, who were I think 5 and 8 years old at the time. They would come knock on the door to my little apartment above their garage every day, and while their parents kept telling me, "we can tell them to stop if they're bothering you!!" the opposite was true. I've always felt a huge connection to children, especially little girls, so their daily visits were absolutely brightening my days there. And I developed a great friendship with that family, and have watched their adorable little girls grow up into poised and beautiful young ladies. Tonight Kate, who is now 17 (!!!!) and looking into possibly majoring in voice in college (!!!!!!!!) was performing in her high school musical, and I was lucky enough to receive an invitation. She has become an incredibly articulate, poised, thoughtful young lady, and I was very proud of her up on that stage tonight.
Watching the musical (It was "Bells are Ringing") got me thinking about the tradition of musicals in high schools. For me, having the chance to be in the choir, the musicals, and all things music and drama nerdy were my saviors, and what allowed me to have any social life whatsoever. But the high school musical also seems to bring the entire school together, as well as their parents, for a shared night of singing, dancing, and fantasy. For that night, kids who otherwise might not be the most socially acceptable or popular get to feel shiny, bright, and loved by everyone. Plus no one ever leaves the high school musical in anything other than a good mood. It's a really nice tradition we have here in the U.S. - but it made me wonder; what is the equivalent in European high schools? Schools in France, Italy, and Germany certainly don't perform musicals every year at their high school, so what do they do to bring together the nerds, the jocks, and the drama weirdos for one social status-free night? Do they all get together and sing the Bach Magnificat? It just wouldn't be the same as everybody walking out of the theater whistling "when you're a jet, you're a jet all the way." I'm always going on and on about how great everything is in Europe, but tonight reminded me that we have some good stuff here too.