So the day of the Music Academy concert dawned surprisingly hot and sticky!!! We have been blessed with the use of an air conditioned classroom though. It was decided last night that we should start late (the 10.00am published start of each day has been a myth all week as the children have been raring to go by around 9.00am!). Today was no different except that WE didn’t arrive until 10.00.
What a sound greeted us – the children practising themselves with a backing track. We briefly wondered whether to return to the Shalom and just bowl up for the concert with everyone else – they sounded fantastic.
But Ate Shelley had work for everyone as we checked any wrong notes, worked on dynamics and practised standing and sitting together. Then, of course, we needed to be synchronised in bowing together after every item.
Cuya Simon took us through the percussion piece and then we had a run through. There was a fair bit of excited chatter but how these children and young people have worked.
Snacks, lunch (no rest hour over a leisurely lunch at Benitez for us today…work to be done still!)
The room was swept, chairs moved, flower arrangements appeared as if by magic. After all we were expecting celebrities – Miss Philippines 2015, beauty pageant winners and the Chair of the Trustees of Kanlungan. Plus the children from Benitez and the ODC and the rest of the Streetlight team. Behind the wooden curtain (dividing doors) some of the children looked anxious, most were excited and a couple appeared to be sleeping! At last we were ready to start. There were introductions, prayers and words of encouragement from Sol and then the first notes of ‘Adiemus’ sounded.
I have sung in choirs since I was a small child and the songs sung today were complex and in a variety of languages – they were NOT easy kids’ pieces. The opening bars were electric! The children sang their hearts out. The percussion band were pretty much rhythm-perfect and the body percussion still leaves me utterly baffled…but the kids got it bang on! The recorders (who tries teaching recorder pieces in 3 days to 40 children? Answer: Ate Shelley) were at times a bit squeaky but they made up for any duff notes in their enthusiasm!
Two young girls from Tunasan sang an enchanting song about being yesterday’s dream. The singing was just totally amazing and the words reminded me that they were singing the truth. These children are the outworking of a dream that Sol had 30 years ago of rescuing children who needed help and giving them back their childhood, an education and, most importantly, faith in Jesus Christ and hope for the future.
If I may be allowed a little boast. There was a little group of little children, who turned up late for days 1 and 2. They are from the streets have no English (apart from being able to count to 10) and struggled with what was going on. So I took them into the corridor (no air con!) and started teaching them some English nursery rhymes. At first they were scared and pretty uncooperative until I started singing “The Wheels on the bus”. They LOVED it! They had a go with Simon’s drums when there was just us to watch and I got told off by the school administrator for making to much noise when we marched to the drum! BUT today (and yesterday) they turned up first thing and performed The. Wheels on the Bus and 1,2,3, Jesus loves me. My heart nearly burst with pride as 5 of them stood and performed in front of probably 100+ people.
It all went so fast and everyone got a certificate – including all of the team, there were more motivational speeches, a near miss with the stand of flowers that almost decapitated Ian…and then lots of cake!!
The talents of these children seem to know no bounds and Kanlungan is rightly proud of them. Shelley had done so much work in preparation, stayed calm and professional all the time and the kids rose to the challenge. I can only hope they have more chances like this. What a day!
Fi Shouler ( May 4th 2017)