The drone of parents squirming uncomfortably on badly designed plastic chairs falls to near silence as the gymnasium lights dim to complete darkness and the curtain opens on Mrs. McGillicuddys' fifth grade music pageant.
Even though your child is in her class you have no idea what to expect because
the children have all been sworn to secrecy on pain of expulsion from this concert.
If you think this sounds a tad harsh then you have obviously never met Mrs. McGillicuddy.
Black lighting illuminates short shadowy figures on the stage trying hard not to fidget in front of what appears to be a semicircular wall of chalkboards.
The children are all dressed in black jumpsuits making them almost invisible but for a few day glow colored dots that appear and disappear seemingly at random across their anxious silhouettes.
All fidgeting ceases abruptly as Mrs. McGillicuddy taps a conductors wand on a podium that you didn't even see was there moments before.
The percussion section of her junior band sets up a beat, each sound is accompanied by an individual eruption of glowing cloud-like explosions and it begins to dawn on you that the children are smacking irregularly shaped chalk erasers together.
Suddenly the opening notes of their original composition make the small hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention because each tone is being made by a child running specially made false finger nails down the wall of blackboards. Each childs nails make only a single note and they have practiced very hard on their timing to work in concert with one another to turn this nerve grating cacophonic noise into a coherent melody.
Some of the children whack staplers, some run rulers down felt marker washboards, while still others stomp empty milk cartons, blow across partially filled pop bottles, twang elastic bands stretched over waste paper baskets, and generally use every conceivable school supply imaginable to make this concert a memorable event.
You manage to spot your own kid in the mix and absently notice that the note she is playing is an A.
She finally got herself an A!