Yesterday was our seventeenth wedding anniversary. I got Noel a new phone. He got me (in addition to some book that hasn't appeared yet, but hey, I'm not going to be the first to bring it up) a day alone with my daughter while he went along with Archer to the All-Region Choir tryouts.
I sang in choirs throughout my childhood. But I never competed for a spot in any of these mass choirs. My elementary school didn't have a choir or an orchestra, and my secondary school didn't participate in whatever organization oversees these things. So this whole world of honor choirs and orchestras and bands and cheer squads and who knows what all is completely new to me.
I do know the choir world well, though. I know the music and the rehearsals and the participants. And I was hopeful, when we chose Archer's electives for this seventh grade year, that he would get into it. He is fascinated by the technical side of music -- notation, theory, structure -- and he has perfect pitch. I didn't know if he'd like the process of learning, rehearsing, and performing. But his teacher (who also leads the music programs at our church) says that he's a classroom leader, grasping the music quickly and helping others to get it and stay on track.
Noel followed the school bus up to Clarksville on Saturday, and stayed with Archer while waiting for his group to be called and to make their way in stages back to the audition rooms. It was hard for us to imagine what Archer would do with the long, long of waiting. I'm still nervous about sending him off into unstructured situations, where there's no one around who can keep an eye on him. He almost certainly would handled it fine. Without some firsthand experience of the setup, though, there was no way for us to know that.
It's reportedly unusual for first-timers to make the grade in these auditions. When I asked Archer to rate his performance, he reported that he would give it a 98%. For the last couple of weeks, he's been telling us about the pieces they chose, what key they're in, how many vocal parts, their suggested tempo in beats per minute, the song structure. He seems positive about the whole experience. I wouldn't be at all disappointed if choir became one of his things, like it was always one of mine.