Monday, December 19, 2005

A Star is Born

Last night was Monkey Boy's first piano recital.

When you've only been taking lessons for four months, "recital" is a bit of an overstatement. Monkey Boy's performance was to consist of that modern classic masterpiece "Cuckoo" -- sixty seconds of harmonious bliss. It also holds the distinction of being the first piece Monkey Boy learned where his left hand is doing something different than his right hand.

Not so easy.

And while Monkey practiced dutifully with MLB every night after dinner for weeks, he always stumbled at this one part.

Over and over.
Once more from the top.
Now just the left hand.
Then just the right hand.
Now together.

We were all hearing Cuckoo in our sleep leading up to the big day.

Saturday was a rehearsal at the church where the recital was to be held. In the car on the way over there, Monkey Boy (who was nursing a 102 degree fever) was psyched. Even if his body was under duress, he assured me he was ready, able and mentally prepared for the challenge before him.

But when we got into the room, all of his confidence turned to nervous energy. Other kids and parents started to arrive and Monkey Boy realized we weren't in the living room any more, Toto.

Being one of the youngest and newest students, Monkey Boy was called up to play first. He nervously sat. Then he was asked to stand again and bow the way the teacher had just told them all.

Finally, he sat back down and began to play --


He started with his hands in the wrong position so what came out was just plain wrong. He and everyone else in the room knew it. (Did I mention the poor kid had a fever?)

The teacher stopped him from playing, helped his hands find the right starting notes, and he began again. At this point his confidence was shot. He played tentatively, softly, and darn it -- got stuck in that same rough spot he always gets stuck on.

It was not a stellar moment.

In the car going home, I reminded him this was his first recital, he had a fever, the sun was in his eyes, etc.

Cut to the next day.

We made him take a nice long nap in the afternoon. For those of you who aren't familiar, 7 year old boys don't nap, so the fact that he willingly took a nap should give you an idea of how crummy he was feeling.

After his nap, we fed him dinner, he took a nice hot shower, put on his "fancy" clothes including a nifty gray clip-on tie. He looked like a million bucks.

In the car over there, we reminded him how hard he worked and we told him how proud we were that he had come this far. He was quiet, pensive.

We go into the church and some violinists were warming up (this teacher has both piano and violin students perform at this recital together). Monkey Boy and Peanut sat and watched quietly. The room began to fill.

Finally, the teacher welcomed everyone and announce the first performer. A young boy who wasn't at rehearsal the day before. Suddenly Monkey Boy looked at me with a panicked expression. "I have to pee!"

I grabbed his hand and led him to the back of the church. We saw a young boy (older than Monkey) standing in the hall outside a "single serve" bathroom.

"Is this the only bathroom?" I ask.
"I think so" says the other boy.

From inside the hall, we hear the first performer begin to play. Monkey Boy's stress is visible on his face.

A woman comes out of the restroom. I explain to the older boy that Monkey Boy will "go on" before him and ask if Monkey can use the john first. The older boy senses Monkey's tension and agrees.

Monkey Boy does his business, washes his hands. He comes out and smiles at me.

Cue the Rocky music.

He grabs my hand and I lead him back into the auditorium. No sooner do we sit down than the teacher calls his name as the next peformer.

He rushes up to the piano and sits down. Just like the day before, the teacher makes him get back up and take a bow. He does and sits again. The teacher tells the room that Monkey will play that modern classic masterpiece "Cuckoo". Then he turns to Monkey Boy and nods for him to begin.

Monkey Boy does -- and plays every freakin' note PERFECTLY!

It was smooth, clear, forceful. Sixty seconds of absolute bliss.

When the piece was over MLB and I restarted breathing. Monkey Boy stood, smiled radiantly, bowed once more and took his seat again. Peanut gave him a huge hug and a kiss. As did we.

His feet didn't touch the ground the rest of the evening.

As we're leaving the church later, he tells us he wasn't even afraid. He pretended he was playing for us in the living room.

And now that he had done this, he was thinking that maybe he would try out for a play at school.

Oh yes, my friends. Yesterday, a star was born.


pooks said...

I love this story. Yay, Monkey Boy!!!

Mrs. Wonderful said...

Monkey Boy roolz!!! We had similar success this weekend, and now Wonder Boy wants to quit. At the peak of his career, I guess.