Sunday, March 23, 2014

The power of music

Every Friday, one class at CAMS takes charge of the primary assembly.  I have previously posted about assemblies that I have been in charge of.  Each class presents them a different way, but all of them have the same basic elements.  There is a presentation, usually a skit or song, about something the class has been learning, presentation of merit certificates for one student chosen by their teacher per class, announcing of “Gold Cards” which recognize good behavior on the playground at break time, and the announcement of total House Points (think Harry Potter for anyone not familiar with these.)  Each class presents with their own unique style and assemblies are fun to watch!
Standard 1 students at their assembly during Term 2 

This week, the school gathered to watch Standard 6.  For those of you who have been following along from the beginning of my journey, you will remember that this is the class that I started out with at the beginning of the year.  I got to know the Standard 6’s pretty well during that first term.  I did not however bring my camera this week.  I have been wishing I had all weekend.
They have been talking about music and how it can affect emotions.  On top of the regular things, one of them gave a brief piano performance.  She was very good and it was nice to hear something different happening during assembly.

A bit later on, they gave a performance that nearly brought me to tears, which was really unusual.  Assemblies are normally full of laughter and smiles.  It was really unexpected to have something that was so emotional.  They performed it perfectly.

They told a story, without words, but set to music.  A boy and a girl walked down the aisle together, accompanied by dancing bride’s maids, as is normal in a Tanzanian wedding.  They embraced at the altar and exited the church.  I remembered thinking that the two students would actually be a great couple in the future.  They are both great kids, with funny personalities.
They re-entered, this time carrying a baby.  The part of me that was enthralled in the story was happy for them.  These funny, happy kids I have gotten to know were starting a family.  She went to sit on the floor and he reached down and touched them both on the head, as if he was saying goodbye.  He then turned, walked a few steps, and picked up a meter stick from the floor and carried it over his shoulder as if it was a rifle.
He walked a few steps down the center aisle, between the students there to watch.  Another student came in from the back of the library, also holding his “rifle.”  As it rose, the first boy fell to the floor.  It was at this point that I had to remind myself that we were sitting in the library at CAMS, and that everyone in the room at this moment was fine.  I had to continue to remember this as four other boys, all his classmates, came and carried him to the front of the room, where his wife, some other mourners, and the priest who had officiated at their wedding waited. 
It was a bit of a relief when they got up to take their bow.  Part of me also wanted them to go on.  Encore!!  I was amazed at the seriousness that they had taken in their acting.  How many 10-11 year olds do you know who can act out a wedding scene without laughing or can pick up someone without at least cracking a smile?  They spent no time goofing off and performed with such a seriousness.  It was amazing!

I have seen this story played out before.  You may or may not have seen this done with shadows in this YouTube clip. 
Even though I had seen it before and been touched by what I saw, there was something different this time.  It makes a difference when you can see and relate to the actors in this kind of thing.  I am extremely grateful to be living in a country where the government does not recruit and will not sign up children into military service, but I am closer now than I have ever been.  As I watched the drama go on in front of me, I could not help but think of these kids in real service. 
You don’t expect a primary assembly to give you so much to think about.  It’s amazing the things that help you to realize the real privilege you’ve been given.   I think they made their point.  You don't need words to tell a powerful story.  The right musical background can tell it for you.

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