My Heart Will Go On

SMUS-Views-Bob

It was SMUS’s own Celine that sang this song in Middle School Chapel this week. The original was sung by a different Celine, who may not be everyone’s favourite – in fact there was a quip made during the Olympics that the US would let Canada win the gold medal in hockey in return for taking back Celine Dion. Such is taste. The mother of my grandson, however, is a keen Celine Dion fan, and that puts the famous singer in very favourable and cherished company. For those of you who don’t know the song, you can see the music video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtAPC3gwG_0

It was great to watch these four Grade Eight girls singing and performing: one on vocals, one on drums, one on guitar and one on keyboard. I was struck, yet again, by a most special quality of our school culture, week in and week out: our students are at ease performing and enjoy it, and their peers are a generous and attentive audience. Why such a warm audience? Because nearly every single one of those in the audience has also had his or her moment up there – as a singer, a dancer, an actor, a speaker, a presenter, and so on. At Senior School assembly, the students applaud the announcements, without thinking – that’s how far this attitude of encouragement and appreciation extends. I sometimes say you could read the weather in assembly and the students would applaud. And it’s not because they are mindless about it; rather, by contrast, they are very mindful: they all know, by experience, the apprehensiveness, the excitement, the nervousness, and the fulfillment that comes with performing. They want whoever happens to be up there right now to know that they are loved for taking that step, that risk. I wouldn’t want to change this state of affairs.

This morning, Benji Schaan sang Charlie Chaplin’s song, “Smile”, and since it was Chapel and the Chaplain wanted to maintain a certain tone, everyone’s applauding hands were fighting this SMUS impulse I have described, but silence did prevail. The song was wonderful.

But not so last night! Last night, we had the Cross-Campus Strings Concert. Our string orchestras, five of them from Grade Four to Twelve, performed brilliantly, pieces as diverse as a Handel Concerto Grosso to a contemporary Concerto for Electric Guitar and Orchestra. This contemporary concerto was the closing piece, and at the end of it the quickest to their feet in a frenzy of applause and appreciation were the Grade Four and Five students who had been on stage half an hour earlier. They were cheering and waving their hands in the air – if they had had lighters they would have lit them, in true rock concert fashion – standing along with everyone else in the auditorium. Truly outstanding. Here is the performance:

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Bravo all round!

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Bob Snowden
Bob Snowden was Head of School at St. Michaels University School for 22 years, from 1995-2017.

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