Going from Grand to Ground

By Kathleen Federici, MEd

As we approach the holiday season, I typically look forward to attending our schools’ holiday concerts. I had no expectation of attending one this year even though both of my children are in band. My nine-year-old plays the clarinet, cello, and piano. Yes, the cello is larger than her entire body. My 12-year-old plays the baritone horn and has the most wonderful music teacher in the world, in my opinion. In April 2020, she got him a gig at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, center stage at Verizon Hall in Philadelphia, playing alongside the first female tuba player of a major symphony orchestra in the world, Carol Jantsch. I got a ticket for every single person in my family, even those from out of state, to attend. Alas, COVID happened and this did not. Devastation does not describe how we felt.

I was elated when his music teacher (the most wonderful music teacher in the world) recently sent an email saying the school would have a holiday concert this year. It is BYOC (bring your own chair) and will be outside in Pennsylvania, in freezing cold December weather. She got enthusiastic agreement from her neighbors to host it outside on her front lawn before dark; the audience will be across the street on her neighbors’ lawn and we shall freeze and listen to wonderful holiday music while wearing masks and sitting six to seven feet apart.

This concert is not as grand as the one at the one we were to attend at the Kimmel Center but the resiliency of having it speaks to me regarding the times we are living. Having resiliency means capturing a positive attitude and staying connected. Going from grand to ground is nothing less than a demonstration of being resilient in a challenging time.

I hope your holiday season remains resilient and you find a way to stay connected to those you love.

Kathleen Federici, MEd, is IPMI’s director of professional development.