Posts Tagged ‘musical performances’

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Happpppy 2021

January 25, 2021

Over the last month during the time that I wasn’t blogging 3 deer came to my backyard almost every night munching on the acorns that have piled up under our Oak trees. The time I may have spent blogging, which I often do late or early in the morning, I spent watching the deer. While the moon was bright and we had snow on the ground they stood out quite well and I could watch from one of two windows. They didn’t notice me when I stood perfectly still.

Considering we’re barely one month into the new year we certainly have experienced many BIG events. I’ve received many resources to help us navigate this world as teachers. Instead of going back and including them ‘after the fact’ I will try my best to incorporate them into blog posts moving forward.

I have to say as an art teacher I have enjoyed the enormous amount of very clever memes of Bernie in his mittens made by an elementary school teacher from Vermont. I loved reading an interview where she mentioned how surprised she was by the attention she was receiving because of the mittens she made for Bernie and the teachers at her daughters pre-school. She had sewn them and gifted them in 2017 in her craft room on a machine that her mother gave her when she was 12 years old. She also mentioned that she had no desire to leave teaching to make mittens full time. She has received hundreds of requests for mittens. My heart warmed when I read that sweatshirts with the photo were being sold for $45 on Bernie’s website with all the proceeds going to VT Meals on Wheels. Creativity benefitting a good cause!

I was so impressed with so many of the components of Inauguration Day, especially the performers. This includes the hopeful words of Yo Yo Ma and his cello performance of “Amazing Grace” delivered to President Biden at the Lincoln Memorial. “Throughout the pandemic, Ma has been delivering cello offerings on Twitter, bringing peace through music in a time of pain for many.” (from https://www.classicfm.com/artists/yo-yo-ma/cellist-poignant-amazing-grace-biden-inauguration-concert/). Lady Gaga’s rendition of the National Anthem was stunning and her outfit spoke volumes in its representation of traditions. The gold colored dove that she wore was a dove carrying an olive branch symbolizing her wish: “May we all make peace with each other.” She went on to say “My intention is to acknowledge our past, be healing for our present, and passionate for a future where we work together lovingly. I will sing to the hearts of all people who live on this land. Respectfully and kindly, Lady Gaga”. I read comments from some of my Maine music colleagues that this was the first time I was brought to tears listening to “The Stars Spangled Banner” brought me

Outstanding performances by Garth Brooks, Demi Lovato, Jeff Bradshaw, Jennifer Lopez, New Radicals, Earth, Wind & Fire, John Legend, and Tom Hanks hosting the TV special.

By far, for me, the highlight of the day was Amanda Gorman’s performance of her poem “The Hill We Climb”. Perhaps it is because I was responsible for the Maine Poetry Out Loud program for the six years I worked at the Maine Arts Commission. I loved and admired the high schoolers who participate in the program. Amanda had all of the components of amazing poetry and by far her performance was truly remarkable. Amanda is 22 years old and the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, suggested by Dr. Jill Biden to recite. She is an award-winning writer and cum laude graduate of Harvard University, where she studied Sociology. Amanda is the first National Youth Poet Laureate. I love hearing her goal is to become President. I’m sure whatever pathway she is on she’ll continue to inspire and make a difference in this world.

The Hill We Climb

When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry,
a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast,
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,
and the norms and notions
of what just is
isn’t always just-ice.
And yet the dawn is ours
before we knew it.
Somehow we do it.
Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed
a nation that isn’t broken,
but simply unfinished.
We the successors of a country and a time
where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves and raised by a single mother
can dream of becoming president
only to find herself reciting for one.
And yes we are far from polished.
Far from pristine.
But that doesn’t mean we are
striving to form a union that is perfect.
We are striving to forge a union with purpose,
to compose a country committed to all cultures, colors, characters and
conditions of man.
And so we lift our gazes not to what stands between us,
but what stands before us.
We close the divide because we know, to put our future first,
we must first put our differences aside.
We lay down our arms
so we can reach out our arms
to one another.
We seek harm to none and harmony for all.
Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,
that even as we grieved, we grew,
that even as we hurt, we hoped,
that even as we tired, we tried,
that we’ll forever be tied together, victorious.
Not because we will never again know defeat,
but because we will never again sow division.
Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time,
then victory won’t lie in the blade.
But in all the bridges we’ve made,
that is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb.
If only we dare.
It’s because being American is more than a pride we inherit,
it’s the past we step into
and how we repair it.
We’ve seen a force that would shatter our nation
rather than share it.
Would destroy our country if it meant delaying democracy.
And this effort very nearly succeeded.
But while democracy can be periodically delayed,
it can never be permanently defeated.
In this truth,
in this faith we trust.
For while we have our eyes on the future,
history has its eyes on us.
This is the era of just redemption
we feared at its inception.
We did not feel prepared to be the heirs
of such a terrifying hour
but within it we found the power
to author a new chapter.
To offer hope and laughter to ourselves.
So while once we asked,
how could we possibly prevail over catastrophe?
Now we assert,
How could catastrophe possibly prevail over us?
We will not march back to what was,
but move to what shall be.
A country that is bruised but whole,
benevolent but bold,
fierce and free.
We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation,
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain,
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy,
and change our children’s birthright.
So let us leave behind a country
better than the one we were left with.
Every breath from my bronze-pounded chest,
we will raise this wounded world into a wondrous one.
We will rise from the gold-limbed hills of the west.
We will rise from the windswept northeast,
where our forefathers first realized revolution.
We will rise from the lake-rimmed cities of the midwestern states.
We will rise from the sunbaked south.
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover.
And every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful.
When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid,
the new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.

I am hopeful for 2021 and the future as the artists mentioned above and so many more are given opportunities to let their voices be heard. Another reason why excellent PreK through 12 Arts Education should be afforded to all children no matter their zip code.

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