Well, home from three days at the performing arts festival (piano, voice, and speech arts), which was a hill of its own.
We returned to find that it’s finally, really Spring here in our corner of the prairies. I’ve had pussy willows in a vase for a few weeks, the geese have been flying overhead in small groups for the same time, and about 10 days ago we saw our first bluebird. But on Tuesday, the sun finally came out after many dreary days. The same day, there seemed to be geese everywhere, in the fields and on the sloughs in and in the sky in great clouds. We drove home from the Laura’s piano competition that afternoon to discover a flock of several dozen robins in the bush just south of our house. The birds seem to be everywhere, not just magpies and sparrows, and fluttering about everywhere. Nearly every stand of trees has a hawk standing sentinel. And the best gift of all — as Tom opened the front the door this morning, he was greeted by the meadowlark’s song.
Which is a wonderful, very seasonal way to celebrate all of the kids’ successes at the festival. Laura, who struggles with piano lessons and practice, was gratified to receive praise and second place from the adjudicator. Davy sang his “Huron Carol” beautifully the next day, wearing his mukluks, and took second place to a 12-year-old friend with five more years of singing lessons and experience. That evening, Laura won the musical theater solo award for her song, “I’ve Got the Sun in the Morning” from “Annie Get Your Gun”. And then all three got up to do “Moses Supposes” from “Singin’ in the Rain”; we turned it into a trio (in the movie it’s a very athletic duet with Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor) with a few easy dance steps (I can’t sing in tune and have no professional dance training, but you’d be surprised what you can pick up from a lifetime of watching MGM musicals — I had to laugh when the adjudicator praised the “simple but effective choreography”).
Yesterday we dispensed with the singing and dancing and moved on to speech arts. Daniel won the award for Canadian poetry, for reciting “My Toboggan and I Carve Winter” by Jane Wadley; Davy took second place, for “My Moccasins Have Not Walked” by Duke Redbird. Yes, he wore his mukluks. Both poems are in the Canadian children’s anthology Til All the Stars Have Fallen, recently republished in paperback. The boys also did lovely, expressive jobs with their Kipling poems. Laura took the narrative poetry award for reciting “Jabberwocky”, and was delighted when the adjudicator said that Laura’s recitation was one of the best she has ever heard at a festival, and almost up there with one of the adjudicator’s favorite professional recordings. The icing on the cake came at the end of the day, when Laura received the award for her 4H speech. And of course there was the treat of listening to the other entries. We are lucky to have some very, very gifted young people in our area, whose families still believe in the value of speech arts.
The kids have been asked to perform the trio routine, and Laura her poem, for the final concert on Sunday. So a very happy, and tired, bunch. As soon as we arrived home yesterday evening, Laura and I crawled into my bed and watched Danny Kaye. I fell asleep, and woke up to find Tom cooking dinner and serving the cake we had bought on the way home to celebrate.
And apparently Laura has been recommended to provincials for speech arts. I don’t have all the details yet, and don’t know that I want them anytime soon. The house is in dire need of some tidying up, I’d rather be outside, and we have animal babies to check on…