MusicWorks! @ Deck the Halls

December 18, 2016

Well, now I can say I’ve performed on the stage of the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall! On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 11, the kids and I rehearse with the Gulf Coast Symphony and the Fort Myers Symphonic Mastersingers for that evening’s concert.

Some of the kids in MusicWorks! were chosen to play in the orchestra side-by-side for a few Christmas songs. (I wasn’t picked because I’m not good enough and am just a beginner.) But I do get to sing onstage with a group of over a dozen kids, led by Miss Lois.

The orchestra is so loud and powerful, it’s difficult to hear the Mastersingers who were standing on risers behind them, at the rear of the stage. It’s a long day for the kids, as rehearsal begins at 3 p.m. and kids have to wait to go back onstage for the actual performance. Though the concert starts at 7 p.m., we don’t go on until close to 8 p.m.

I sneak out of the green room to listen to the orchestra from the wings. Maestro Kurtz had told me that an orchestra sounds much more different onstage than from the audience, and he’s right. I wish I could be standing right in the middle of them all, instead of backstage, in the middle of all that beautiful music.

But in the wings, I bump into Santa! “Don’t forget me!” I tell him half-jokingly.

“I never forget any of my children!” he responds in that deep jolly Santa voice. The kids are just dumbfounded when they see him. He stays onstage with us while we sing. He interacts with the kids, even picking some up while they sing, holding them in his arms. When we’re finished and walking off-stage, he hands out candy canes to the kids.

And now I can say I’ve sung onstage at the Barbara B. Mann. Maybe next year I’ll be good enough to be able to play the cello with the symphony for a song or two. I bet that’s a good feeling.

~ Nancy Stetson

Nancy Stetson is a writer for Florida Weekly in Fort Myers, FL. During the 2016-2017 school year, she will be attending MusicWorks! as a student participant and documenting her experiences in a series of blog posts and news articles.

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