Posts Tagged ‘Fire in the Mountain’

The Recital

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

The previous year of anguish around Olivia’s practicing violin was a distant memory when she performed with seven other students in a small recital on Tuesday afternoon. Forgotten were the threats, the tears, the stomping down the hallway with screams of “I hate violin!” Instead, she and I savored the performances of the other students, and basked in a feeling of tremendous accomplishment when she completed her songs, “Fire in the Mountain”  and “The Partridge.”

This being California, the performers dressed casually. Olivia paired her favorite multi-colored skirt made in Guatemala with neon green Converse; other students chose Vans sneakers, leggings, and board shorts. Of the eight students, five were boys. If I had to guess, I would say that most of them, in their spare time, skateboard or surf. The girls, I know, play soccer.

Chills ran down my spine when I saw how music animated each one of them, slumped in a metal folding chair only minutes before. The older, more advanced students, especially, came alive. Such intensity in their eyes, the way they handled the bow, their fingers. But even beginners like Olivia were transformed. The music teacher, Mr. Kit Eakle, must have been extremely proud of his small but dedicated cadre. This year, Mr. E will retire from the public schools, where he has had a long career teaching music in addition to his own performing and composing. At the end of the concert, he gave each student a CD featuring outstanding performances on the violin. He will continue to teach privately.

On the Monday afternoon before the recital, Olivia and I had agreed, “No more violin.” Now, we’re not so sure.