Well. Today was the Best of Season show, which is often a slog, and I had a killer migraine and was ready to curl up on the bathroom floor but there was a good unexpected laugh or two that kept me there.
To be honest, I had not signed them up for the Bowie show this summer. They had done it three years ago right after his death, and they had wanted a break from shows for a season.
Somehow this ended up being one of the most enjoyable shows they ever did. They are improving as musicians for real.
One of the teen students stopped me today to tell me how “beautiful” Claude had looked at the Foundry last week at the Summer festival. Our dear friend Tara — a belly dancer before her mom days — is pretty much the same size as Claudia, and raided her own closet, and came and tailored pieces that the kids’ chose to fit them for the Bowie show. It was the kindest, most personal thing, we can only say this:
This show was also a big leap forward for Béla. His drumming is getting better and better. Look at his arms! They look like they’d reach his ankles! It’s so great to hear the staff at the school recognizing his growth as a drummer.
Claudia has a song in every show, that, once you get past it, you have a much more pleasant Claudia to talk to. For this show, that song was “Changes”. I changed Claudia’s diaper hundreds of times in her infancy and she seemed to be singing this verse every time I did. She was a very “old soul” baby.
Definitely the most enjoyable moment of the show for me: Claudia’s duet with Kenai, singing “Under Pressure”. In the Bowie show three years ago, Kenai and Claudia did “Diamond Dogs” as a “duet”, but, being eight, their only goal was to outperform each other, which at that young age — with a song full of lyrics that had almost zero contextual resonance to either of them and were just a barrage of syllables — sounded exactly like that. (If there had ever been any goal of them taking turns with lines or verses, that was quickly abandoned as well, and they just yelled through it, but it was very cute. They were so small.)
They’re bigger now and I think everybody would like to see more Kenai and Claudia duet scenarios (his mother and I included!) Kenai so engagingly creates a setting for shared energy and Miss Ice Queen says “Wow yeah I’d be doing that too, were it not for this Plexiglass wall someone has put between us.” This is by no means personal — Claudia has a very “remote” quality as a performer and is that way about an audience as well. I was surprised she smiled when people snapped their fingers at the end.
But they used to be so SMALL! I remember Kenai seeming so little back in the day and sharing all the “safe” (not-raw) pieces of my sushi with me at the 2016 Bowie show. This was just very emotional.
All three songs chosen for Best of Season were songs either B or C were on, and although none of them won, I was particularly proud of Claudia who stepped up when the vocalist for “Ashes to Ashes” did not arrive — Claude sang the song with a moment’s notice. (I am sure she used that moment to complain bitterly to Jace or Kowalski or whoever asked her to do it but they are immune by now.)
She’s not one of the Littles anymore.
I am so proud of both of them, and reminded that this is more than just a “fun” activity. They are getting more out of their music education than I ever did as a kid and wow does it matter. It is absolutely making them better, more confident, more worldly people, who have a broader view of culture, and higher emotional intelligence than they would without it. They are up there sweating. Thank Gods they are not just lip-synching to autotune nightmares on Tik-Tok.