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I went to a combined public school music concert last week. Our son was playing the cello this time. Not the double bass.

At the final day of rehearsal, our boy forgot to take his instrument to school. He said he had to sit there and just listen.

We were both a little nervous on the night. We needn’t have been.

It was a celebration of making music together. It didn’t have to be perfect. And sometimes it wasn’t. But you could see the students, especially the younger kids, having a wonderful time on stage.

I remember one particular school. Their choir was made up of students from Grade One. Their faces beamed as the lights fell on them.

At the end of the row was a kid with hearing aids. He stood a little off centre. Not quite facing the audience. His eyes couldn’t quite focus on the conductor. And occasionally he would twirl.

I’m not sure if he sang, or even understood the words, but he preempted the section where they all had to clap. He was smiling and twirling and clapping. The kid next to him would shuffle from time to time to give him room. But his classmates were singing and grinning along with him. All enjoying their time in the spotlight.

They sounded like an ordinary public school choir made up of six year olds. But I found them extraordinary.

At the end of their piece the music teacher went to the student at the end of that row. She reached out, took his hand and gently guided him to a seat as the rest of the choir shuffled off the stage.

On the trip back I told my son how much I enjoyed the evening. I also told him how impressed I was by the gorgeous Grade One choir from that ordinary public school.

“The concert was called Tutti for a reason mum.”

I understood. And I was glad our boy understood too. But I let him turn to me anyway and explain that, in music, tutti means all together.

“Well there you go,” I respond.

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August 2019
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