Thursday, June 5, 2014

Oh What An Amazing Night that started fifteen years ago...


This morning I opened up Anna's bedroom door, hugged her good morning, put up the shades and I went through the usual, "today is Thursday Anna, what do you need today?"  Neither of us said anything.  It felt like something was missing and we couldn't figure it out.  "Oh..." we looked at each other.  "inter el..."
"It's bitter sweet mommy.  I'm glad to have the afternoon off but I'm sad it's all over..."  "me too, Anna, me too..."


I can remember the first time I attended a performance at the beautiful Bushnell.  I was only six years old.  I can't remember what I wore, but I can tell you it was a pretty dress.  That is for sure.  My Grandpa (oh, he was wonderful, and I still miss him) bought our family tickets to Annie.  (sigh)  It was the original NYC cast from the first time it ever ran on Broadway.  The original cast is the most amazing... the very first Annie, daddy Warbucks, Sandy... all of them.  I was only six but it was magic.  Not just the show (although it will always be my all time favorite musical) but the 'going to the Bushnell'.

The red velvet seats, the carved and painted ceiling, the bigness, the lobby, all of it... pure magic to a six year old.  I will never, ever forget my first time there, Annie, my grandpa... all of it.

Fast forward twenty years.  I'm now a young teacher, married to another young teacher.  I taught first grade, he taught eighth in the same town.  We didn't have children yet so our teaching was our lives.  I had a student way back when she was in first grade.  A sweet little girl, and I was close with her family.  Well, when she was in fifth grade they bought Scott and I tickets to a night at the Bushnell.  Their daughter would be performing in the Inter Elementary Festival.  I jumped at the chance to go to the Bushnell.

As Scott and I sat together and watched the 'best of the best' from each of our eleven elementary schools in town perform we were in shock.  The orchestra, the band, and the choir that moved me to tears as the stage rose while they were singing.  When we walked out that night to the parking lot I told Scott, "someday we will have a child and they will be in this..."

Fast forward twelve years.  And Anna made it in.  Remember this post?  We were all so thrilled that she got in.

Well after months and months of rehearsals it all came down to this night.


I adore this one of Anna beaming with her daddy... 
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My girl... entering the stage door of the Bushnell... thrills 
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The sound I can never capture.  The feelings that swelled up in me... well, I can't really capture that either.  You'll just have to trust me that I sat on the edge of my seat the whole time.  When the orchestra played America the Beautiful and the choir sang... tears ran down my cheeks.  My little Chinese daughter who started her life living her days in a metal crib all day and all night was up on that stage.  I had a clear view of her.  And I will never, never forget the look of concentration on her face and her bow and fingers on the strings during that song.

So proud we all were...  all done.. 



And when it was all over I thanked Anna and told her the story of how I knew, just knew that one day I would have a child perform in the Inter Elementary Orchestra fifteen years ago.  Thank you Anna.  Tonight was a graduation gift to mommy and daddy and we thank you!




  1. Tara, I have no words...
    Nothing that will even come close to letting you know how much I loved this...
    I felt as if I were there with you.
    I felt your happiness, pride, excitement...
    And those photos !
    All I can say is...Love!
    So happy for you, my friend.
    And congratulations to your beautiful daughter, always supportive hubby, and precious little cheerleader. : )

  2. Oh what a beautiful night, a beautiful moment to treasure always!! Way to go Anna!!!

  3. Such a beautiful post. It was as though we were sitting there with you. I love hearing my children play music.

    In our area there have been so many budget cuts and music/arts have been one of them. Our school district still feels music is important and the students are required to play an instrument in 4th and 5th grade. Many students continue on into middle school.