A Symphonic Experience

A Bittersweet Symphony

As a teacher, I am often invited to my students’ performances.  Whether it’s for choir, band, or a sporting event, and this year was no exception.  Last night I was invited to the school’s band concert.  The students’ invite are always the day of the performance and the students naively believe that whomever they are inviting should be comfortable with dropping any plans they might have to see them perform.  In all truth, they have no regard for the teacher being tired, living in a different city from the school, or having any prior engagements.  Normally my response is, “I’ll try to make it” knowing deep down inside I would not be leaving my home once I got there.  Well, last night I actually decided I would attend. I had classes asking me to attend, so I went.

The concert was held at the feeder high school that our students would attend upon completing 8th grade at our Junior High.  When I walked into the auditorium, I soon heard students excitedly saying “She’s here” and eagerly calling my name so that I could see them and wave back.  These are 6th graders, so they are still very proud and eager to impress their teachers.

Before the concert began, I thought about my time in band and how great I believed my band performances were, and then began to I wonder what I would be hearing. Not necessarily the music selection, but what it would sound like. Would it be something just as great or even better than my Junior High band performances?  I then remembered a car commercial that aired towards the end of last year (2022). In the commercial, there’s a lady at her child’s Christmas Band Concert and it shows her in the driver’s side reclining her seat. You soon hear the squeaks and blurts of noise meant to be the melodious sounds coming from metal and wood in its attempt to become a collective symphonic sound. As this is happening she is seen bringing the windows up in an effort to block out the majority of the music.

When my students’ first note rang out,  I imagined being this woman.  Their first note sounded as if they were beginning the warm-up. You know that sound that sounds like a garble of notes before the actual song is played?  I smiled. My students had worked so hard to sound so terrible.  They were so proud of their ineptitude to be one with their instrument.  They were desperately trying to work as a unit but there was mostly failure…, but it was so cute.  Upon finishing their first song, they beamed big and bright in their finest ensembles, in their misstep to be a unified ensemble. 

But like every parent there, I knew that when I saw them the next day, it would be my duty to inform them of how great they sounded. To let them know how wonderful they looked, and how I was so proud of the great job they had done. Well done 6th Grade Band…Well Done! A lesson can be learned from this: Sometimes the outcome may not show your hard-work. More importantly my students were delighted to see me there and I was proud of myself for sacrificing my time to come see them…even if it was just for two whole songs.

Click below to see the commercial:



Me & My Big Mouth

As a teenager, I was repeatedly reprimanded because I had a “smart”, disrespectful mouth.  I wasn’t purposefully trying to be this way. One of  my problems was that I didn’t know that some things should be kept in my head and not said at all.  The second problem, I was told, was that I lacked tact.  I was constantly reminded to watch what I say and to think before I speak.  This was to encourage me to work on what I was going to say and its delivery.

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Of course, I would heed the advice and sometimes even practice my responses or comments out loud, but I continued to fail at this…miserably.    In my mind, I sounded fine, but judging by the receiver’s facial expression, I had again messed up.  I eventually got to the point where I would just say what I wanted no matter how it sounded, because I didn’t know how not to say what I needed to say without offending, so I was in trouble quite a bit. 

This followed me to college.  I eventually became known for “speaking my mind”, so after a while I wore this as a badge of honor.  I thought I was gaining respect and being noticed for this “admirable” quality,   not realizing that people were losing respect for me and dreading many of the things that I said.

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Now don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a problem with every conversation.  I was able to talk to people without offending.  I think problems arose when I was questioned, asked my opinion, or attempting to explain myself.  As I stated before, I wasn’t purposefully trying to offend.  I was just answering the question that was asked or explaining.  Some people appreciated my bluntness, but the majority thought I could do with some fine tuning. They didn’t quite like how their question was being answered, or the way I sounded.

This is an area that I continue to struggle in today.  I’m still confused on why one would ask a question and not want to hear the truth.  If you truly know me, then you know my heart is not to hurt or upset anyone. My goal is to be truthful and honest without insulting. Now my question is WHAT DO I DO to remedy this problem? This is a huge problem for me and I don’t know what the solution is.

I continue to think before I speak. I continue to practice what I say. I’ve even gotten to the point where sometimes I’ll remain silent and not share my truth to keep the peace and not offend. All I can really do is pray and ask God to help me and my big mouth.


It was the worst of times, but we were able to continue.

For some reason during the pandemic I thought I would have a lot to share and have a lot say. With the constant showing of murders, marches, and worldwide deaths shown on the news, I didn’t express much about what I was hearing and witnessing. Maybe because so much seemed to be happening all at the same time. I instead wanted to disappear just to feel safe.

I felt as if I had nothing more to say. Maybe it was too overwhelming to find the words that truly captured the confusion and fear I was internalizing.  My America and Our World was in open chaos. All at a standstill with people looking towards anything or anyone for answers and a true sense of hope.

When I wasn’t consumed with the reality of the world around me, life was …peaceful. I enjoyed the solitude of being shutdown while at home. Being at home became a necessary distraction for me…my Wardrobe, my Leaky Cauldron, my Pandora. The world seemed to be stuck in disarray. This would be a time history would never forget.

So much has happened since 2020. There’s been so much change.   Though the world is no longer at a stand still, confusion and fear still manage to find a way in, but that’s just human nature.  We all have those moments… . I don’t think we’ll get back to a place where all of the world is shut down, but we are still flourishing in a chaotic state. The pandemic brought about improvements in the areas that seemed to be the root of some stagnant issues that erupted during this time regarding medicine, technology, and civil rights. Positives did come out of the negative events taking place.

On a daily basis we are still reminded of the madness and darkness of mankind. When will it ever get better? It’s been 3 years since I have written on my blog. What do I have to say now? That despite the coldness of man’s heart and the evil that walks about the earth, we have to keep believing that if we made it then, we can and we will continue.  

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