And the crowd repeatedly went wild

Friday was the NYCHEA Performance Meeting.

This annual gathering is an opportunity for kids to get up and show their stuff; to sing, dance, play an instrument, act or whatever else they want to perform and share.

It is awesome.

The best thing about this meeting is the utter lack of pressure.   It is a celebration and everyone, no matter how accomplished or un-accomplished in their chosen art they may be, is received with cheers and wild applause from an audience of their peers.    There is no jeering, no poking fun at mistakes, no derogatory comments or one-upmanship.

This years meeting included a 3 year old who got up and danced to One Direction’s “What Makes you Beautiful”, an 8 year old who did a one man show version of “The Phantom Tollbooth”,  a group of teens – one of them playing the accordion -who got up and sang “Oom Pah Pah”  from Oliver, as well as a Modern Dance group , an Improv group and many, many more; all were magnificent.

This does not mean each performance was flawless; far from it.   For some kids, this was their first performance in front of any but their own family.   Some piano pieces progressed in fits and starts and a couple of violin bows missed their notes.  A few steps were mis-timed and a few lines dropped.   But the great thing about kids who learn outside of school is that they do not judge others by their perfection or lack thereof, but by the courage and effort it takes to simply get up and try.   By that measure, every person who performed was a champion, and received enthusiastic accolades from a truly appreciative audience.

Our school system,  which spends far too much time emphasizing academic dominance as the only end result worth praising, should really sit up and take notice.

This three year old brought down the house

The Phantom Tollbooth as one man show

Oom Pah Pah Oom Pah Pah that's how it goes!

Improv "freeze tag"

Great space, great performers, great audience!

2 comments on “And the crowd repeatedly went wild

  1. Lisa Nielsen says:

    Love this. It reminds me of when I was a kid. The adults would get together for adult time and send the kids off telling us they’d like a performance to conclude their evening. We spend a few hours, then come out and put on a show. My 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 year-old memory is that we brought down the house. Looking back is was a good way for the adults to keep us occupied as they did adult stuff. A simple direction. Go in your room and create a performance.

    Regardless of if we were that good or not, it was powerful for us kids to get together and figure out for ourselves how to put on a show and have the full attention of our families. This is perhaps some of my fondest memories. I fear school kids don’t have much time for this type of fun these days.

    It’s great to hear that the NYCHED kids are getting such an experience.

    • Amy says:

      Hey Lisa!
      I remember you telling me that story, and I love it. Such opportunities for kids are in short supply these days, even in families because there is too much homework and scheduled stuff going on. The creativity and appreciation of the effort it takes to create gets shelved.

      Do you have any 16mm video of your performances? :-)


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