Yesterday afternoon, the seniors sang in their last musical on the Hickory High School stage. A pleasure of relaxing in their songs filled the stage. At the matinee, not so tired, they seemed more intimate with the audience. The cast performed this many times, they probably sing it in their sleep. I know I wake to the songs, after three performances, anticipating the last one.
I'm prepared with my Kleenex. I don't start crying too early, like I thought I might. Carly, who plays the Baker's wife with her adorable innocence that I didn't see in former productions of Into the Woods, began the emotional voice as she sings to husband, Alex, about raising their child. Alex's voice trembled. Then Mary Ellen reappeared with the haunting "Children will listen" and started to lose composure. I sat in the back with my moist tissue, my oldest daughter's hand on my shoulder. I pray, "Oh, Lord, she can't lose it. Keep her voice strong," as my tears slow down. I can cry, but she's on stage, she can't. She commands the stage and her song swiftly. I think how I will miss seeing her, Carly and Alex. They have been close friends, performing together since elementary school and all of high school. It is over.
The juniors show great talent. They too have matured over the years and I think ahead. Next year, I wonder what production they will transform to their own. The director asked me if any more Lyon's are coming up, "Please tell me there are." I point to David's great-nephew. His mother is a Lyon. He's in fifth grade. He asked if he could write a play after seeing the preview on Wednesday. I tell her, "Watch out for Jacob." She smiles.
I promise help for next year. I want to stay involved in any way I can. These kids work hard from before Christmas, preparing for auditions to starting on Christmas break to almost every weekend of practicing and set building and several evenings a week. Four months, they pour themselves into singing, dancing and acting. We cannot lose the arts, for the arts save esteem that we hope produces a better society.