I have this feeling I never 100 % fit in. In high school I was an edge person- friends in many different groups, but I never felt totally part of any one group. In college it was similar. After college the trend seemed to continue- I think in part because I am an introvert and do not go out of my way to plan and execute social events.
At my last school, many of my friends were quite musical. I have NO musical talent, but like to hum along (off tune) and enjoy concerts of almost any variety. It came to pass that two teachers at school started something they called “Musical Mania”. They picked about 20 songs from musicals, people auditioned and were given parts, were responsible for learning their words, went away for three days to learn all the choreography and then performed twice. It was a major project with generally over 100 students from grades 6-12 and about 20 staff members. There was a full orchestra/band, student choreographers, big numbers involving everyone, solos were often shared as they tried to get everyone in about 5 songs. It was a fun and frenzied rush to get ready. The first few years I was an audience member and enjoyed singing along from my seat. I would help out if they asked (passing out programs, etc.), but that was the end of my effort.
One year my older son was in the band (he could get creativity hours required for his diploma). Then the next year I decided to join. There were problems to overcome:
- The audition- I can not really carry a tune (so I sort of sang a bit in private with one of the teachers- luckily that was enough).
- The dancing- I do NOT move gracefully- I had so much troble learning my moves- I learned that it was best to hover near the edges of the stage- there were always others who were happy to be center stage.
- The reality- I still do not carry a tune well and singing while moving did not improve this.
In spite of this, I was allowed to participate. The directors are more forgiving with the adults- some of those kids were amazing (truth be told, some of the adults were too)! It was stressful, but fun. It really helped us all to see different sides of each other and revealed many strengths. It was a great way to be part of a fun tradition at the school and build relationships with colleagues and students. One year my younger son was in the orchestra as well- I think it was slightly embarrassing for him to have me on stage, but he bore it well.
Now, nearly two years after leaving that school “Musical Mania” is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary. The directors decided to invite some former members to participate long distance via video. All this expalins why this morning I donned an old t-shirt with “Don’t Stop Believing” on the front as I practiced my few lines as the voice from offstage in “Two by Two” to let the young Mormons know where their mission would be from “The Book of Mormon”. My cat made filming a challenge, but I got it done and sent it on. I couldn’t help but be grateful for the times I had being almost “part of” the musical theater group. The school is something special because of the people who make it that way. To Brent and Kirsten I say, “thank you for the music.”