The Sound of Music ~ Tryouts and triumphs

Walking into the room, I felt like I was looking at an anthill that had just been raided by a few drops of water: ants scurrying everywhere with no real goal or organization...yet. But you had the feeling that given time, everyone would have a job, and organization would begin to unfold. Everyone looked busy and the room was alive with chatter and anticipation. Kids were getting measured, parents filling out forms, chairs scraping and screeching, and the director trying to get everyone's attention. I was stunned with the numbers. Standing room only. There had to be 40 or more kids; add in their parents, and that was a lot of bodies in a small room! It was obvious that the numbers exceeded expectations. My heart sank a little because while I know Hannah is good, I didn't know how she would stand up under this kind of competition. I looked around the room parts. Seven parts and HOW MANY kids again? Yikes.

Hannah had been taking voice lessons, and her music teacher who doesn't throw compliments around easily, said she was so excited with and proud of her progress. Hannah LOVES to sing, especially in a musical. She was in "Beauty and the Beast" last year and had a ball. "The Sound of Music" is one of her all-time favorites, and it was a very real dream of hers to one day earn a lead for that musical. When the same local theater group that put on B&B decided to do "The Sound of Music" this year, we supported her going for it. Now, looking around the room, I had my doubts. Was disappointment around the corner? God has taught us some very real lessons through disappointment, so I immediately began praying that whatever His will, that He be glorified and honored. If disappointment was to be the destiny, then this over-sensitive parent and drama-queen preteen were going to need lots of help! Of course I added, "At least a call-back would be nice, Lord."

Round 1 wasn't so bad. Groups of kids were asked to sing together, and when it was Hannah's turn, I could hear her bold, clear voice come through nicely. I felt certain she would get called back, but perhaps I was a bit biased? We would soon find out. The phone call came two days later, and Hannah was invited to call-backs the next day. I breathed a sigh of relief and thought I could relax. She had made it this far; whether she got the part or not, she could have confidence in the fact that she had talent and with continued practice, she would get her chance to show off that talent. Relax? What was I thinking?

When we walked in this time, I was surprised with the numbers still there. The room was almost as full as it had been two nights before...there had to be about 25 kids...this was pared down? Turns out that the second night of round 1 tryouts had almost as many kids as the first night, so between the two nights, there were 70 or more kids. 70+ kids, 7 parts. I guess 25 or so WAS pared down. And the room was now oozing with talent. All these kids were good, most were excellent. I was so glad I wasn't the director! Once again, my prayer was that whether she won or lost the part, God would somehow get the glory through this...specifically through Hannah's efforts.

A long evening ensued. The kids had to learn harmony parts quickly and try to blend and sing together with other kids. They had to read through a few scenes, stand together for height and "family resemblance," and stay quiet when it wasn't their turn. Eventually, round 2 ended, and about half the kids were sent home. Hannah (and I) stayed. I was so thrilled for her, and while I was positively antsy with nervous anticipation, I was also giddy with pride that she had made it this far. We both felt that win or lose, it was truly an honor to be considered "cream of the crop" enough to continue to be called back.

The third and final round was even more nerve-racking than the previous as the final selection for 3 parts was made, but 4 of the roles, including the one Hannah was trying for, were still undecided. So we had to leave without knowing, and since we were leaving for the weekend the next day, we wondered if we would find out before we left.

The call came the next morning...Hannah had been chosen for the part of Louisa! She was out with her aunt, and while I wanted to see her face when I told her, I couldn't wait! So of course I called. The timing was perfect as they had just stopped at my mom's, so her aunt her gramma, and she all got to hear the news together. I heard a lot of joyful shouts, jumping, and laughing that almost made up for not seeing her face. What a joyful highlight to tuck away in my parental heart!

Now we are in the throes of rehearsals and preparations, and I have to say I am proud of how Hannah is handling it all. She is maintaining her schoolwork, helping at church, and she's playing volleyball, too! We are usually pretty strict with one activity at a time, but we made an exception for these circumstances with the agreement that she keep up with her grades and other commitments, and no matter what the musical is next fall, she will not be a part of it if she continues with her other activities and commitments. Her school does a musical every spring when she doesn't have anything else going on, so she'll get her opportunity then to be a part of a musical each year if she chooses, and will be able to do so without all these other things going on.

Needless to say, we are practically counting the days until the performance! And you can be sure I'll be posting pics and chattering on and on about it when it does happen. Can you hear my heart swell from here?

Reports of my death....

"Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated...!" Mark Twain penned that quote originally, but now, Andrew can apply it to himself when he tells his story of this past weekend:

Seneca Hills is a Christian campground near us, and it has come to mean a lot to us over the years. There is a family camp every Memorial Day and Labor Day that we attend, and our kids go there for a week each summer for the kids' summer camp.

This past weekend, we were there as usual over Labor Day. Yesterday (Sunday), just before supper, Andrew and several other kids took off on their bikes on a trail near the creek when Andrew took a pretty nasty wipe-out and found himself at the bottom of a rocky hill near the creek pretty banged up and more than a little scared. His walkie-talkie took a beating too, so he could not get a hold of us, so he sent one of the younger kids back to get help. Being a typical 7-year-old, this child wasn't clear with what had happened, but we finally got the message that Andrew was hurt and we needed to go check it out. So Dave and Homer (our friend) headed out to find Andrew.

Although we are in a modern world of technology and communication, the story still got mangled pretty badly, and between kids trying to help, walkie-talkies, and parents who fear the worst, Andrew was in a ravine with a twisted elbow and a broken leg with a bone protruding through the flesh by the time I got the message. I held it together long enough to run and get help and then proceeded to go into a 10-minute meltdown while I could, since I was away from both kids. I knew I would get it together for them when I needed to...but right then, it hit me pretty hard, and I had visions of my child in agony with mangled body parts. I did calm down, and within about ten minutes, I finally got the accurate message that not only was it not as bad as I thought, but Andrew was up and walking and moving around pretty good, and we probably wouldn't even have to go to the hospital. He had banged up his elbow, knee, and back, but no broken bones, major twists or even any major bruises.

Unfortunately, my meltdown happened near the dining hall in the middle of supper, and while I am forever grateful for the people who showed concern and rallied around me, it didn't help the rumor mill any. Small camp...everyone knows travels fast...too fast. Andrew was probably close to death by the time some people heard anything, so we've been calling it his "near-death experience." In fact, later than evening, a friend was riding by on his bike and saw Andrew--and with a wry grin said, "I heard you died...!"

As you can see in the picture, his parents were probably much more worse-for-the-wear than he was, especially mentally. He had more dirt than scrapes, and he'll probably have a nasty bruise on his back to show off, but that's it. We decided not to go to the hospital--too much hassle when my motherly instinct was telling me he'd be just fine (where was that instinct when I first got the message that he'd been hurt pretty badly??). Sure enough, he was chasing bottles from a bottle-rocket launcher (that another camper had made and brought) less than half an hour after eating some supper.

We did tell Andrew that he and Seneca don't seem to be getting along lately. Many of you may remember the huge goose egg he got over Memorial Day when his head collided with a tennis racket moving at full speed. He came home from his week during the summer with a sore throat that turned out to be strep. And now this...! We're starting to think we better leave him home next year. :::chuckle:::

I praise God that He chose this particular ending to this incident, and it is definitely something we can laugh at now. I actually look forward to scrapbooking these moments as they show such a unique but real part of life.

I will say that even in the middle of when I thought I would be spending the next weeks dealing with a badly and painfully injured child, I knew...I truly KNEW...God would be there with me through it all. I knew my friends would be there, and I knew my savior would be closer than ever. What a blessing in the midst of chaos, confusion, and the agony of the unknown!

If any of you have followed any of the interviews Steven Curtis Chapman has been giving lately, you know some of the events that day. The things that have touched me the most have revolved around the family's incredible love and support of Will Franklin, the son who was driving the vehicle that killed little Maria. One of the events that day involved Will's older brother Caleb holding him down, hugging him, and praying for him. In the midst of all of that, Caleb admits to crying out in his own heart, "Why? Why is this happening? God, why are You allowing this?" But he also realized that although he was hurting, confused, and even angry, the fact that he was reaching out to God proved the existance and very real presence of his heavenly Father.

I have a few experiences in my life where on a MUCH smaller scale, I understand what Caleb meant. In the midst of pain and confusion, I find myself crying out to God right away. I don't understand what's going on, and I'm scared, hurt, and maybe even angry, but my God is big enough to handle all that. Not only is He big enough, but He holds me close and carries me through it. He's there. It's that simple.

My 10-minute meltdown was actually almost freeing because it gave me a chance to bring myself before my God and say, "Help! I can't do this...please help." And I knew he would. Whatever lay ahead, I knew He would.