|Michael doing one last run through of his music before going into the room before the judge.|
Today I drove to a town about 30 minutes away to watch him perform at a Solo contest. He was so nervous. Last year he went and completely froze. He was so distraught. It's interesting because Michael has performed in front of lots of people and handled it well but when he got to this contest last year, it overwhelmed him. He has made it his goal to go back this year and perform. While he wanted a good rating overall, he really just wanted to complete his piece.
He practiced a lot, it is a rather difficult piece and I knew even when he practiced he was nervous. I asked him if my coming to watch him would make him more nervous or help calm him. He said he didn't know. I decided I would go and if he changed his mind about me being in the room with him, I would leave. He had already decided that he wanted one of his best friends to sit in his line of sight as she was a calming factor for him.
When I got to the high school he was performing at I found him in a corner practicing. I loved watching his band peers approach him and tell him he was going to do great. I love watching our youth being supportive of one another, it contradicts what so many people say about our teens today in regards to being so self absorbed.
As the time got closer, we started to make our way to the classroom where he would be playing in front of a judge. We walked out of the gym and suddenly there was this cluster of kids running towards him. They wanted to make sure they hadn't missed his turn. My heart was so happy for him and the amount of support he was receiving. I hung back and watched the interaction.
The minutes ticked by and I'm not sure who was more nervous...Michael or me. The student that was scheduled before Michael went into the classroom and so did most of Michael's friends. He hung back to get himself focused. As we stood there I told him to just take a deep breath, visual his piece and imagine himself finishing it. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and then took a deep breath and said he felt a little better. I asked him if he wanted me to pray with him and he said yes. We stepped away from the small cluster of people who were waiting to go in to another room and said a quick prayer. After we said Amen, Michael leaned forward to me and gave me a hug. It was truly a tender moment. I feel so blessed that my boys are not ashamed to show me affection in a public setting and even more blessed that they are not ashamed to pray in public either.
A few minutes later, the door to the classroom opened and the previous student filed out along with those who watched her and while they walked out, a few more students walked right in. I was amazed that when I walked into the room, there was only one seat left in the back corner. It filled my heart yet again with joy to see the amazing support his band peers were giving him. I took the seat in the back even though some of the students offered me a seat closer to the front. I didn't want to make Michael more nervous than he already was. Besides, if I wanted a closer seat to the front I wouldn't have a problem telling one of those kids to move!
Both the band directors and the piano accompanist were in the room with Michael. I saw them as they all gave Michael some quick words of encouragement. Michael made his introduction, sat down and that's when I stopped breathing. I realized that I sucked my bottom lip and held my breath for most of his piece. He did a wonderful job. He had a few minor mistakes but overall I am so proud of him for conquering one of his fears and having the courage to do this in the first place.
The bassoon isn't the easiest of instruments to play and he only played one movement of the piece he chose for his solo and that was over 6 minutes alone! When he finished, everyone in the room clapped loudly and I loved all of the wonderful feedback they gave him. Little comments like, "I could never play a double reed!" to "You are the first bassoon player I've ever heard." I am so proud of him.
I gave Michael the option to come home with me and he chose to stay and support his friends. I love that about him, giving back the support he received. At this point, I don't know what the judges scored him but I already know he scored high in my book just for going!
UPDATE: Michael was rated with a 2 out of 5 (5 being the lowest, 1 being the best). So proud of Michael!
If you would like to hear his solo CLICK HERE.