(This is part of a series dedicated to our local elementary school–the heart of our community–on the occasion of my last child’s graduation… count down–two weeks!)
As an army brat and the oldest of eight children, I’ve seen my share of school performances–in places near and far.
Add to that the decades as an elementary teacher and you could say I’m a school concert officianando. (Lucky me!)
And just in case your experience is more limited than mine, I’m here to let you know that Marlboro Elementary School (MES) events are by far the cream of the crop.
I saw my first MES performance in 1994 at Marlboro College, and felt the first quickening of my first born right in the Whittemore Theatre, aisle three, center left.
A handful of years later, that same child was on the stage exposing his belly to the audience in a kindergarten performance that was well past his bedtime.
The following year, he was in the “orchestra” sounding percussion for his class play beside his best buddy. After watching the sword dance, Timmy leaned over and whispered to Lloyd: “How will we EVER do that?!”
A couple feet later with deepening vocal fluctuations, there they are, teenagers, dancing in the dark, with glowing sticks.
If Marlboro’s Holiday Concert isn’t your idea of a fun night out, it might help to look at it through the eyes of an anthropologist. The rites of passage steeped in the curriculum that music teacher Charlene Morse offers, matches that of those tight knit cultures we admire.
From the enthusiastic participation of the primary room to the grumbling of the junior high, it’s all good–the stuff of coming of age in a strong community. The Youngers look up to the Olders, and the Olders look up to the Alumni–who voluntarily return to the place they once couldn’t wait to leave.
There is Joseph, a Marine, standing on the stairs beside his fifth-grade teacher, David Holzapfel.
His brother Jesse is back on the stage playing drums.
There is Harry speaking to the audience–channeling the love of our community–to MES graduate Jesse Lopata at Dartmouth Hitchcock.
There is baby Chloe toddling now and there is baby Dylan, speaking!
Families who haven’t seen each other since summer days at South Pond reconnect, sharing snow and power-outage woes with continued offers of help.
Recent MES graduates linger in the lobby and the whole Reichsman family traipses by with equipment in their arms.
Winter is upon us and once again the pot of our community is stirred.
(Kelly Salasin, December 23, 2008)