Friday, June 25, 2010

¡Si se puede! You Can Do It!

I have more reflections
on the children’s choir.

Just after I was asked
to direct his fine group
I went to Mexico.
I started rehearsals with them in September 2008.
And then, I went to Mexico
about two months later.
The trip had already been planned.
I really didn’t like the idea
of starting this new project
and then being gone for two weeks.
But so be it.

Thinking of and praying for the children of the choir,
I purchased some maracas
during my visit to Chalma.
We tried to incorporate instruments
my first Christmas with them.
What a disaster!
Several of the maracas broke.
I purchased a dozen
as they were the small kind
made out of gourds.
three of them got legs and walked.

Even a rainstick
met its demise.
When I explained to the children
how the sound was made
I think they got curious.
“Miss Rubi,
it just broke.”

After this,
I just put the toys away
and decided to concentrate
on singing only.
Instruments could wait
until some time in the future.

I knew they could do it.
The time just had to be right.

as I stated in my previous blog post,
there were some real discipline issues.
I knew they could use the toys creatively,
but other things had to come first.

All the while
they kept asking me
when I was going to bring
the instruments out again.
I kept telling them
that singing was primary.
If they stopped singing
to play the instrument,
we don’t want that.
Your voice is the primary instrument.

During the course of this past year
I was looking for some vocal music
for my work at my other job
with the kids at COMPAS.
(Center of Music and Performing Arts Southwest)

I was seeking music
that would build self-esteem and confidence.
these are inner city Detroit kids.
I look at my work at COMPAS
not only as teaching music,
but also to build confidence
and a sense of self-worth
in these young folks.
And I found this wonderful song
written by Jim Rule,
dedicated to the memory of Cesar Chavez.

many of the children of the choir
of St. Gabriel parish
attend The Cesar Chavez Academy.
And my own father
was graced to have spent some time
with the legendary Cesar Chavez.
Cesar Chavez by TIME Magazine. Size 8.00 X 10.00 Art Poster Print
this was not a religious song,
not a church song,
not a liturgical piece.
I asked my pastor
if it would be OK to teach the children this song
and he said, “Go for it!”
I kinda knew he would.

And then I decided that now is time
to bring back the toys.
I purchased a set of chimes
and a claves to complete the set.
And the video below
is the end result.

Carlos, Jean Paul and Gerardo
can carry a simple rhythm in 4
on the maracas.
And Carlos can do 3/4 very well.
Rita is great on claves.
And Viridiana knows exactly
when to come in on chimes,
as do the lovely ladies of the rainstick.
And through it,
not a single instrument was broken
this time around.
My kids were ready.
My kids ARE ready!

At the end of the video
you can see their sense of joy,
their sense of accomplishment.
You’ll see Elizabeth give a little dance.
Carlos gives a waive.
And Jean Paul raises his arms in victory!

Cesar Chavez was right all along.
¡Si se puede!
You CAN do it!
At the very least,
my Beautiful Bilingual Babies can!

1 comment:

Don McLeod said...

Hello, Rubi:

Nice job with the young folks; they seem really enthusiastic and, as you say, they convey it very well. Keep it going -- we need more joyful music in this world!

Duke (from Edmonton)

P.S. The hand-held video was a bit shaky, but otherwise the transmission was good.