Brave New Girls

Cell phones swaying at the talent show

The other night I went to the Talent Show at my daughter’s junior high school. The cost of $5 per person was a bit off-putting at first, but when I learned that all of the money raised was for charity (to help in Japan, Haiti, and here at home), I didn’t mind. They also held a bake sale consisting of actually appetizing-looking edibles which made the $2 per baggie of chocolate chip cookies worth it.

There were many singing acts (encompassing a predominance of Taylor Swift songs), from a capella to karaoke, some singing solo and some (the less confident?) in pairs and groups. All of them were good, and two of them were excellent. Most of the performers were girls, with a few token boys thrown in like afterthoughts.  In addition to singing, other talents showcased were
  1. Hula hooping
  2. Magic tricks
  3. Gymnastics
  4. Flute playing

Initially my daughter was sitting with me but soon enough she was off giggling in the bleachers with her friends (as tweens so often are). While I was waiting for the show to start, I thought back to my own junior high days and they were nothing like what my daughter’s have been like…for which I am endlessly grateful.

These girls were mostly in the twelve to fourteen year old range and they were so talented! The flautist performed an original medley of music she wrote herself, and she played what I knew to be a quite difficult piece beautifully. When I was her age, I played a solo in our band concert: Yellowbird. A medley of original music that she wrote herself? OMG! Saying “times change” is such an understatement in this case I can barely get the words out!  One of the singing acts performed a song in five-part harmony… Hel-lo? Five part harmony? And they nailed it. It was incredible to see all of these tween and barely teen-aged girls trying on all of these different talents on for size, seeing how they fit. How confident they all seemed!

Back when I was in junior high school, the audience was mostly parents and grandparents of the people performing. This audience was made up of parents and grandparents to be sure, but also many of their peers, who came to cheer them on. This was a kind, generous audience that clapped every bit as loudly for the singers who were slightly off-key as the ones who were pitch-perfect. At one point, the audience opened up their cell phones in the darkened room and swayed, holding them over their heads, like we moms and dads used to do back in the day, only with lighters!

I periodically stole glances over at my twelve-year-old daughter with her friends, watching the show, cheering and clapping; a shiny happy person among shiny happy people. My heart was full.

So, I’ll close out with a quote from (who else?) Taylor Swift from her song “Mine“, dedicated to my daughter:

“You’re the best thing that’s ever been mine.”

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