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Children And Performing


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Rhomylly's discription of her first public performance prompted me to think about my past experience with children and performance situations (the two have an alarming habit of conflicting with one another). I will relate one experience and ask what has happened to others:

 

When my oldest boy Sean (now 18) was but a wee 10 month old I was faced with a performance dilema: His mother had already left the apartment on a gig and I was waiting for the arrival our sitter when she calls and informs me that she is ill.

 

Aiyee! I'm supposed to get on the train and make it up to Newburryport for my first Messiah in the Boston area. I could not cancel as we needed the money and the choral society would have been hard pressed to find a replacement with six hours notice, so I put together the bottles, formula, nappies, my tails and just for a lark I throw in the pajama my mother had just mailed for Sean that looked like a set of tails. Into the "snugglie" he goes with a call to the Newburryport Choral Society to warn them and off to the trolly we go.

 

There must be a patron saint for fools and he or she was with Sean and me that evening. We got in our tails, and out I walked with my son in hand and right after the Sinfonia I stood up with him walked over to the harpsichord and sang "Comfort Ye" and "Every Valley". My son sat there in my arms looking directly in my eyes as I sang with most angelic calm on his face. The folks in that church roared with an ovation (thank you son). I sat down fed him his bottle and off to a contented sleep he went and not a peep from him for the rest of an shortened version of the Messiah (again thank you patron saint of fools).

 

Young Sean went on to have a number of backstage and onstage experiences. Unfortunately he got hooked. He starts college in fall and it looks like he will end up in theater (heaven forbid). The boy is quite the singer and dancer.

Edited by Mark Evans
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Rhomylly's discription of her first public performance prompted me to think about my past experience with children and performance situations (the two have an alarming habit of conflicting with one another).  I will relate one experience and ask what has happened to others:

 

 

 

Years ago, at a dance, the fiddler in my band was nursing her baby while playing (might have been Opera Reel, now that I think of it.) A news photographer was there and took a picture --which appeared in the Washington Post a few days later. She still has it on her wall, 22 years later.

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Mark, what a wonderful story! I can just picture the little cherub, staring up at you.

 

Jim, I'm trying to picture just how that mother managed both hands on the fiddle... must have used a baby front pack or something!

 

I did very little performing when my kids were young enough to need child care. My bigger issue now is with local performers who let their children run wild in the hall while they themselves are performing on stage. We've had a couple of little knee-biters get into very dangerous and/or disruptive situations that way.

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Allison, I hear you there. There is an unfortunate tendency for parents to assume everyone else understands and it's okay. They don't and it ain't. :angry:

 

The folks at the Marlboro Music festival who also put on the New England Bach festival had a childrens room with a Mrs. Doubtfire type nanny in attendence for the children of the Orchestra and soloists. A small fee and your mind is free to make music. Ah Vermonters....they think of things like that ;) .

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The folks at the Marlboro Music festival who also put on the New England Bach festival had a childrens room with a Mrs. Doubtfire type nanny in attendence for the children of the Orchestra and soloists.  A small fee and your mind is free to make music.  Ah Vermonters....they think of things like that  ;)  .

Not just Vermonters. Danes have that sensibility.

 

Some of the ferries and intercity trains have a special room with things for kids to play with and climb on. No paid nanny; it's a shared responsibility. Then again, it's no extra charge. (I almost said, "it's free", but of course you have to pay for your ticket. Can't quite send your kids off on the train as a substitute for the baby sitter. :P)

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A small fee and your mind is free to make music. 

 

I've been thinking about that and must now back track. Only the soloists paid the fee. The festival did however put us up in married student apartments and it was very nice. There was also a play group organized by the non participant parents while the participants were attending rehearsal after rehearsal during the day. You know, that was a very nice summer thinking back on it.

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My Grandfather had the perfect idea,he bought me a Swanee Whistle at seven took me to his first band engagement and made me a member of the band.

I still take my whistle with me in my concertina box when ever I play.

Al

Edited by Alan Day
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Mark my Grandfather played Saxophone ,Clarinet and Drums ,but never all at the same time.

He was a lovely man and I owe a lot to him.

My other Grandfather ,who I never met, was a dance band leader.As there was no place for the band to practice my father told me that half the band played in the Front Room ,some in the hall and the remainder up the stairs.

It was in my blood Mark.

Al

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It was in my blood Mark.

Al

 

 

Yes Al it is isn't it. Thank you. Now I'll never be able to listen to your beautiful CD without thinking of your Grandfather's saxophone.

 

Bye the bye I ran up on a picture of wee Sean in his tux with dear ole dad and one of him just months ago dancing in "Music Man". He's the tall handsome fellow in white with suspenders.

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My Grandfather had the perfect idea,he bought me a Swanee Whistle at seven took me to his first band engagement and made me a member of the band.

I was about to ask "What's a Swanee Whistle?" but I googled it first and discovered it's the same instrument that we Noo Yawkaz call a slide whistle.

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The one I have is actually stamped Swanee Whistle.It has a brass slider which I have to keep lubricated otherwise it does not warble.My little Grandaughter enjoys playing it, but it does sound a bit like a wounded "Clanger" (For those of you who do not know, these are creatures who live on the moon).

 

Mark your son looks like a chip off the old block, I may be wrong, but he does look slightly fitter than you.You must be very proud of him following his Mum and Dad on the stage.

Al :)

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Mark your son looks like a chip off the old block,  I may be wrong, but he does look slightly fitter than you.You must be very proud of him following his Mum and Dad on the stage.

Al :)

 

 

Fitter than me by a long shot! Much taller too. I'm very proud of him. He's never sung anything for me though. Dominique and I were sent his audition video with dancing and singing on it. We were both stunned and in tears. Now he will be back on the mainland at Clarke University. I'll be able to see his performances...just hope my heart can handle it.

 

He has agreed to paint my house this summer, mainly to keep me off the ladders. Young sprout, tellin' his dad ta' stay off the ladder...indeed. Why I outta...

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Simmer down, Pops....you'll give yerself an anuerism...and at your age, too! :P

 

 

You're right Greg. I was informed a number of years ago by me darlin' that I had to inhabit the right side o' the sod until they (the kids) quit comin' home askin' fer money. Do they ever stop askin'? I don't have that many miles left on my odometer :( .

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Do they ever stop askin'?

 

Yes, but you'll never stop wanting to help. My old man is my best friend, business partner, general contractor, mechanic and financial advisor. I, conversely, do all the heavy lifting and try not to look TOO blank as he explains yet another arcane and incomprehensible procedure.... :blink:

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