Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pure and Easy

There's a great Who song called "Pure and Easy" that Pete Townshend said was the centerpiece of an entire concept album that never was (Lifehouse), which ultimately became Who's Next, which actually never included the song Pure and Easy anyway. (I know, it doesn't make sense to me either.) The concept was that the meaning of life could be found in a single musical note. I was thinking of that song tonight after watching Steffi perform in the school talent show.

Steffi's been in the talent show for a few years now, but always in a group. This year she decided to do a solo, singing This is Me from Camp Rock. When the subject of singing a solo first came up a couple months back, I told her I thought it was great and offered her encouragement. Meanwhile, back on planet worried parent, I'd have sidebar conversations with me wife. Sample conversation: (Me)"Is Steffi really going to do a solo?" (My wife) "Yes." It's not that she can't sing, it's just that she'd be standing alone in front of 300 or so neighbors, strangers, classmates, etc. You know how these things can go - kids freeze, music skips, words are forgotten, curtains don't fully close, crowds laugh and then turn angry,tomatoes are thrown.

Anyway, as the weeks passed, Steffi practiced, the sidebar conversations stopped, and we all looked forward to the show. At Thursday's rehearsal Steffi said she was so nervous she was shaking, but she sounded good and remembered all the words. At today's show, she and her Brownie troop did an act together, which was shortly followed by Jessica's Daisy troop doing a number called "Snuggle Puppy" that was as cute as it sounds. Then there was an intermission and a lots of acts before Steffi returned to the stage.

When it was her turn, Steffi walked up to the microphone, the spotlight shone, the karaoke music started, and she started singing. Then all of a sudden the music got really low. Steffi paused for a split second. It seems her mic was turned low so the sound guy turned her music lower. She quickly resumed singing as if the sound people really didn't just turn down her music several decibels while she was standing on stage alone for the first time in her life. She sang great, the crowd gave her a big cheer, and we all went out to celebrate afterward. She told us that she could have been better, and that she missed a cue later in the song and compensated by singing a little faster to catch up. She wasn't upset, and she explained everything very matter of factly. Three hours later she was flipping through a teen magazine looking for songs that she could sing at next year's talent show.

Stef's first solo performance. Pure and Easy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Toy Bucket List

I don't have a "bucket list". I know that was a big topic when the movie of the same name came out a few years ago, but occasionally you still hear people reference it. I did ask God to let me see the Giants win one more Super Bowl, and he already made that happen in 2007 (I should have said 3 Super Bowls, but I didn't want to be greedy). My other bucket list-type-goal would be to have the health, time, and money to play golf regularly when I retire. But if there was such a thing as a toy bucket list, meaning things you should do as a kid before you become an adult, today would have been taylor made for the list.

Today I took the girls to see Miley Cyrus and her dad play at the Hard Rock Cafe, which aired live on Good Morning America. My friend John got us passes for the event, which was "invitation only", meaning all of the couple hundred people waiting outside "knew someone who knew someone" in order to get a wristband that got us in. The girls and I got up at 4:00 am, got in the car by 4:45 and were walking in Times Square by 5:45 am. it was so early that Jessica said the only people up at that time of day are robbers.

The girls wound up about 20 feet from the pre-teen pop star Miley Cyrus, who sang three songs, including one with her dad Billy Ray. He also sang a couple of songs before thanking the crowd for coming out. Steffi swore that Miley looked at her and waved, and we were close enough that I believe it really happened.

In terms of Steffi's toy bucket list, this is the latest in a list that includes seeing the Jonas Brothers at Madison Square Garden and seeing The High School Musical concert at the Izod Center (floor seats, no less). Both she and Jessica have also been to Disney World, Hershey's, Sesame Place, Crayola, and The Harlem Globetrotters, all of which are toy bucket worthy in my book.

Stef was very appreciative of the day, realizing that she was lucky to be able to get to see Miley so close (I struck out trying to get concert tickets a year or so ago, and couldn't even get tickets to her 3D movie because the theaters were sold out, so this was a big score). Jessica was excited because usually I just bring Steffi to the concerts, but now that Jess is a mature five years old I figured she could handle the crowd and the noise.

Later on we'll watch GMA on DVR and re-live the latest toy bucket entry.