Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Winter Concert

Parents: No food or beverages allowed in the auditorium.

The elementary school performed their Winter Concert today and of course because Bob's a fifth grader, it would be his last. Mr. Rosenberg got to the packed auditorium before I did and secured two seats. He stood waving me to my spot in the dark theater. As I got closer, an elderly Chinese gentleman, the great-grandfather of one of the students, slid into one of our seats. I took the other seat and Mr. Rosenberg shrugged and stood against the wall. During the seat shuffling, it quickly became apparent that the older man spoke no English. He smiled and nodded and seemed confused. His adult granddaughter, leaned over from her seat in the row behind us and whispered to him in Mandarin. 

The school principal introduced the show. The kindergartners performed "The Merry Hula" with sign language and "Let's Go Fly a Kite," waving pastel homemade paper kites overhead. When the first graders took the stage, the elderly man sat up in his seat, craning to see. A boy from the Mandarin/English dual-immersion class introduced a poem called "Big Panda, Big Panda." The students from the class recited the poem together in Mandarin. I glanced at the man. His smile was wide and his eyes were shining. And then I tried not to cry watching him try not to cry. We sat together in the dark, mostly not crying.