"Do you see that girl over there, Mom?"
Girl? Who? What? Where? Did you say girl?
"Mom, that girl, over there, do you know what she calls me?"
She talks to you? Do you talk to her?Are you allowed to talk during school? What? When did this happen?
"Mom, that girl calls me Beethoven!"
Is that code for something like honey or sweetie or cutie? Because if it is I am gonna call her momma...
"Mom, are you listening?"
"Yes, Honey, of course I am!"
"She calls me Beethoven, because she can't believe how good I can play!"
"Oh (whew) that's so funny! Did you tell her Beethoven didn't play viola? Did you ask her to call you Yo Yo Ma instead?? And, it's well, honey, how well you can play, not how good....never mind."
Eye Roll here. Very. Big. Eye Roll.
Hug. Kiss. Break a leg. Go get 'em. Don't sit by that girl....
And, this is how Benedict's very first orchestra performance began.
Growing up in Belleville, Kansas America, we didn't have orchestra. I didn't even know what an orchestra was until I was older than Benedict is now. And, at that time I could care less about stringed instruments, because I was falling in love with my tenor sax, and I didn't think that anything could be better.
Fast forward a couple of decades. My saxophone is very dusty and my fingertips are blistered from trying to learn to play the guitar, since stringed instruments are topping my interests these days. Topping my "this makes me happy list" is the gratitude I feel knowing that my son is playing the viola and the violin.
During my college years at Franciscan University, I had the opportunity to spend time with a few large families who home schooled and whose children played the violin or a stringed instrument of some sort. It was such an awakening for me. I knew then that if I ever had a family I would try very hard to create an environment in our home where a love for music could flourish and violin lessons could be experienced.
I have to admit, I'm a little sad that I can't play along with him, or help him with his lessons. (Even though I know he doesn't need my help, because he's smart and talented and can do it on his own. I'm just kind of bossy and like to jump in the pit and squish the grapes too.) It's sort of like being illiterate and asking your son to read to you. You don't want that to go on forever, you want to learn to read too! Humbling. But, it gives Steve and I great joy to see Benedict grow in such a beautiful area of life.
A couple of weeks ago, he came home from school excited to tell me that he learned to play Beethoven's Ode To Joy in orchestra that day. Ever since the boys first heard the story Beethoven Lives Upstairs a few years ago, they collectively decided that he was their favorite classical composer. From the majestic 5th Symphony to the gentle Fur Elise to the melancholic Moonlight Sonata, they love his work the best.
For all of our family who were unable to attend the concert, here is a clip of two of the songs they performed, the second is Ode To Joy.For all you parents who would like to introduce classical music to your children in a fun way, I highly recommend the "Classical Kids Series." While Beethoven Lives Upstairs is our favorite, Mr. Bach Comes to Call takes a close second. You can find them here.