15 Seconds of Courage

Last week, 150 of our South Side students came together in a beautiful concert at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts. For those of you who haven’t been, the Logan Center is a state-of-the-art cultural and arts center, located on the University of Chicago’s campus. The concert hall is grand: a big stage, seating for nearly 500, rich honey-colored wood, and perfect sound. Needless to say, quite a change from the tight quarters where our students practice.

All of the performances were beautiful (video coming soon!), but there is one in particular that stood out. About halfway through the evening, a young girl, 13 years old, dwarfed by the size of the stage, walked on for her viola solo: Minuet no. 3 by Bach, accompanied by a piano (like this). Spoiler: she nailed it. But not for the reasons you would imagine.

About halfway through her piece, she lost her place. The audience took a collective breath, silently rooting her on. For ten, maybe fifteen, even twenty seconds, she was frozen, uncertain about what to do, the wheels clearly spinning inside her head, the panic rising. Finally, she found her way out of it, took a deep breath, steadied herself, and continued the piece, beautiful and strong, like nothing had happened.

Even as I write this, I have tears in my eyes. We have all been there, frozen and uncertain, maybe a little embarrassed. And in that moment, we all have a choice: to give up or keep going. She chose the latter. And walked off that stage a giant.

If you missed the performance, don’t worry, there are still more opportunities to see our kids play this year. Hope to see you at Performapaloozathon (June 1) and/or PlayOut! (June 25).

– Sarah Kammerer, Director of Growth and Engagement

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