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Saturday, December 21, 2013

More Concerning Bridges

Lessons Learned…

More Concerning Bridges


The fifth grade class was down by five students due to early holiday family vacations, to some dangerously icy road conditions, and a bit to various colds and other bugs which kept a few students home. This meant our sixteen remaining students were going to have to really project as well as pick up all of the unaccounted for lines and scenes. Changing up a program on the spot while performing to accommodate for absences, such as this, requires a significant amount of confidence, memory, and ability. This is certainly an experience which would make most adults offer their most sincere apologies and then quietly bow out because this sort of “winging it” before an audience simply has far too great a risk of embarrassment. These dear fifth graders, however, were fearless.  With the audience excitedly gathering in their seats before us, we quickly accomplished some critical line reassigning.  With a room full of Christmas clad guests at the retirement center, our shining fifth graders sang and shared with great joy, flawlessly projecting every word and filling the hall with magical delight. Bright smiles and generous encouragement met each and every piece shared, and the connection between audience and performers was warm and strong and right. A bridge. They shared an emotional bridge of hope and joy, and it was precious and powerful. Minutes before our first song, we had learned that Ida, who sat in the front row and was wearing a purple sweater, would be celebrating her 100th birthday tomorrow, and in honor of this and her, we added “Happy Birthday” to our repertoire as our concluding number. After the final song and the final bow, the fifth graders strengthened the bridge as each student carried out artwork gifts they had created for each resident. Heart to heart, the students and residents mingled and shared thanks for invitations and received thanks for singing. Eyes met, smiles erupted, conversations commenced, and bridges were built. The hall was filled with the warmth and beauty of friendship and kindness, despite the heavy drape of freezing rain covering the world beyond the walls.  Bridges bring blessing. After each student had greeted and brought an art gift to each resident, it was time to say good-bye. The fifth graders were anxious to know when they might be able to visit these friends again, and the residents unanimously extended an open visiting invitation. Smiles, hugs, and handshakes sealed the promise for more bridge-building to come.