Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice

The end of the school year crept up on me, though I have been looking forward to it with both relief and dread. The past couple of weeks were filled with end-of-school activities and performances.
Casey plays piano accompaniment for the fourth graders in the school-wide talent show.
Paul has been teaching music to the 4th graders at the boys' school all year; he's taught their classes music for the last 3 years now, I think. He went in every Tuesday morning and they sang songs, played music, even tried writing their own songs. And so for the end of the year Talent Show he had them work up 2 songs to sing a s a big group, with individual solo singers as well. Casey ended up being the piano accompanist for Neal Young's song 'After the Gold Rush', with the lyrics slightly modified for 4th graders. :) I don't have a recording of their performance, though Paul does, but he'll never get around to transferring it to a form I can use (old video camera) and anyway Dolly and Emmylou and Linda do a better performance of it anyway, though maybe I'm not supposed to admit that as a parent:

So that piano part you hear was pretty much what Casey played, though he played through the entire song (and played it over and over and over when they rehearsed; he was thoroughly sick of it before the actual performance).
The other song the 4th graders chose, 'Little Fuzzy Animals', by Frank Hayes, was a crowd favorite, with Riley doing a drum roll at the end.
Little Fuzzy Animals, with Riley on snare.
So they survived fourth grade, despite everything. Both made the Gold Honor Roll again, completing the year with Honor Rolls for each semester. The schoolwork wasn't hard enough for them, in my opinion; they weren't really challenged in the weekly work, but their social challenges were harder. Working out all those shifting social dynamics are hard things to navigate, no matter what age you are, but 4th grade seems to be a big year of change for a lot of kids, and social roles seem to start cementing amongst their groups. Figuring out what sort of kids they wanted to hang around with and who they wanted to be were big parts of this past year. And luckily, they seem to have come through it all right, though there were certainly painful parts along the way, and I know that process just keeps going. I'm sad that their school principal is leaving, since she was fair and in tune with the kids and knew my guys quite well; she knew she could trust them to tell the truth about things that happened, and she ran a tight ship. Whomever replaces her has some tough shoes to fill. You will be greatly missed, Mrs. Parker.
Casey's piano recital.
As part of the end of the school year festivities, Casey also had a piano recital, where all of Brenda's piano students played a piece in front of friends and family. Good practice for performing, of course. Casey seems pretty free of nerves at such things; he's a cool customer. He went up, calmly introduced himself and his piece and went on to perform without music from memory and was quite nonchalant about the whole thing. He was really looking forward to Brenda's famous cookies when it was all over.

As for me, I'm relieved that all the crazy running around during the school year is over for a while, though some of that is still happening; Casey has gymnastics three days a week from 9 to 3 and I'll be doing various other things with the boys on other days. Keeping them from getting bored may end up being a challenge, but I know they were both really looking forward to some of what Riley calls 'lousing around'. So they'll get some downtime, but I plan to keep them busy with projects and trips to places.

After all, it's the Bay Area and there's tons of cool things to do around here. We're lucky that way. And if they start getting uppity or arguing with me or each other there's always chores waiting to be done...

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