Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wider Still and Wider

Wow. Um. Yeah I know. Seven months later or so.

What a year.

When I sort it all out, I'll post it. For now:

So this week we had auditions for the annual talent show. One of my favorite students (yes, we do have our favorites, live with it), let's call him Ibrahim, decided to audition with his guitar. Which he has been "studying" for one week.

A little background: earlier this year Social Services visited his house because his "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" essay detailed how he went somewhere very private and learned how to shoot AK47's. With a name like Ibrahim, you can guess what conclusions were drawn.

And...this a child of God. His sweet soul shines out of his face. When I played the opening chorus of the Bach "Magnificat" earlier in the year, he sat, transfixed. When it ended, he waved his hand madly in the air. "Miss Clara! THIS...This MUSIC...makes you FEEL things!" This kid could no more be a terrorist than the kittens on icanhascheezeburger. All year long he questions, "Miss Clara, why did King Henry do that? How did Mozart decide that? What did Beethoven do after that?" And nods thoughtfully after every answer - or responds eagerly to the question I ask back.

So up he gets on the stage and plays one note at a time: Dum..dummmmm...dum dum dum/dum...dummmmm....dum dum dum....

Miss Clara (to Principal): the terrorist playing "Havah Nagilah?

Principal: Uh...yep.

Four bars. Then he jumps up. "That's it!"

I pull him aside. Where did he learn that? Oh, he's been studying for a week with his Argentinian friend. Apparently, the friend is an Argentinian Jew.

In another month, I have to let Ibrahim go. I will watch him march solemnly down the aisle to the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance," and hand him one of two new honors awards this year - for Music Historian. I feel pretty good about him though. I did my job. That which the lyrics to Pomp and Circumstance are all about:

Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet.