Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Twelve-Year-Old Pianist in Pampa's Spring Festival

I was in 6th grade  in 1967 and had been through the traumatic experience of moving across town in Pampa, Texas and changing schools from Woodrow Wilson Elementary to Lamar Elementary.  Sixth grade was the last year of elementary school and most of the kids at Lamar had gone to school together since 1st grade (we didn't have kindergarten then).  And I moved after school started and was thrown into that mix.  My saving grace that year was my music teacher, Sue Higdon.  Apparently, my music teacher at Wilson had told her I played piano because she was ready to hook me up as soon as I stepped into the classroom (which also gave me some standing with my new peers).  I'd had piano lessons for all of two years. HA!  But apparently, I had enough skills to accompany the songs we sang. We'd moved in the fall of that year and the choir was already preparing songs for Pampa's annual Spring Festival.

Pampa's Spring Festival was one of the biggest musical events of the town--the other being the high school musical--all under the direction of Dr. Hugh Sanders.  But the Spring Festival was a concert of all of the choirs from elementary to high school and the junior high and high school bands which took place in the high school gym.  The bands were on the floor and the elementary and junior high choirs sat on the lower spectator risers while the high school choir in their gowns and tuxes had the prestigious risers placed in the center of the gym under the east basketball goal.  There were individual songs sung by the combined elementary schools, the junior high schools and the high school.  But the grand finale was a song sung by all of the combined schools and accompanied by the bands.  There were probably a dozen pianos scattered across the high school gym floor which the respective pianists of the schools played...of which I was one.  Imagine!  Me--a twelve-year-old in the midst of this grandness--the biggest thing Pampa did each year!

It was more nerve-wracking playing for the elementary schools' songs.  Of course, there were probably six more accompanists playing with me (of which some were adults), but I knew my mistakes would stand out more.  I'd practiced my heart out and was ready to give the performance of a lifetime.  And my mistakes were barely noticeable in the grand scheme of things.  But probably one of the greatest moments of my life at that time was accompanying the grand finale with all twelve pianos playing together with the band.  I was probably the only person who could even hear my piano. But a young twelve-year-old girl got to experience being a part of something BIG--something bigger than herself.  And the grandness of that moment was an experience I'll never forget!  And because I was made a part of something so magnificent, I caught the vision of eventually wearing a gown and singing and playing in the high school concert choir.  Which I did.

I was thinking on this experience this morning and was comparing it in my mind to the body of Christ.  What if we graced young believers this way?  What if their contributions were received and appreciated as much as those of the mature believers?  What if their mistakes were overlooked or not even noticed?  What if we enveloped them into the big picture of what God is doing and they felt important, loved, accepted...needed?  What if they caught the vision?

I finished my 6th grade year as an accepted member of my new class.  I can thank my music teacher for that.

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