Can We Be Honest?

Confessions of a Burned-Out Concert Mom

For any of you with school-aged children, you know that May is the busiest time of year – school parties, field trips and concerts for every program out there. Our kids are in band, theater, choir and dance, and we average about two shows every week. You’d think we’d love it. You’d think.

But here’s the awful truth: I don’t care for the shows…except for my children’s parts. Oh, let me tell you, when they’re on stage, I can’t keep the grin off my face or the tears from forming (the latter being from pride, not lack of talent). And yes, there are some students who are so gifted, they get my undivided attention (unless they’re sharing the stage with my child). But then there’s all the rest. And there’s a LOOOOOOOT of all the rest. These two-and-a-half hour concerts make a Jerry Lewis telethon (showing my age) look like a 30-second commercial.

Who decided that students need to sing EVERY verse in a song? Hasn’t anyone ever heard of, “Leave them wanting more.” And don’t think I’m the only hater. Case in point: Last night, as the singer was going into verse three, I heard the sighs, the shifting, the very quiet moans from the people behind me. I was in the first row, so I pasted on a smile and gave the girl encouraging nods. When the fifth verse started, I turned my gaze to the accompanist and burned her with telepathic messages begging her to stop.

To make matters worse, my kids are first-year students. This means their classes usually play/dance/ sing one or two songs at most, while the rest of the program pays tribute to all the other classes, usually focusing on the graduating students. That’s fine. They deserve it. But can’t you just let my kid go first? Do I have to sit for an hour and a half to wait for one song, and then wait another hour to hear the second one? Couldn’t they come up with some kind of fast-pass?

“Your child is scheduled to perform between 8:02 and 8:12. Please report to the auditorium doors by 7:50.”

Oh well, it is what it is. We have three more events in the next eight days. I’ll have my camera, bottle of water, and a shawl. It gets cold in those auditoriums. And I can hide my iPad while I read my book.

I know. So rude. But you know I’m not alone.

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22 thoughts on “Can We Be Honest?

  1. You just lifted the veil! All these years I thought my parents loved all my performances. But in hindsight, I guess comments like “Do we have to go? It’s not even in English” should have been a big clue. Oh well, I was in my own world 🙂

  2. Honestly, Chris!!! The first row!? There is no escape when u sit on the first row. You are on target with everything else

  3. Chris,

    It sounds like it’s time for separate performance nights or time blocks with an intermission. If only there was a parent who was willing to make those suggestions.

    -Jillian
    P.S. You weren’t reading Fifty Shades of Grey, were you?

  4. Chris, I have to admire a woman who doesn’t shy from the truth. Every parent has felt that way, most aren’t willing to admit it. You make me laugh at myself whick is always a good thing. I enjoy your blog very much.

  5. Chris, I’m not a mom, so I haven’t had much experience with this. And I can’t carry a tune, or play an instrument, so I was rarely if ever forced into a show. But the best one I remember was the year my baby brother played the Christ Child in a church pageant. He was eight or nine months old, and he crawled right out of the cradle and into the podium, where he proceeded to pull down all the papers he could reach and scatter them down the steps. Got more laughs than the average nativity pageant.

  6. No, you are not alone. All I can say is thank goodness for the back row and the kindle app on my phone. And what holiday do they put in the middle of all this chaos? That’s right, Mother’s Day. I vote we move it to some other less stressful month like December, but since we can’t do that I’ll settle for the Fast Pass, please.

  7. So funny! And so true! Makes me think of a quote by Anais Nin: “Our role as a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.” Thank you for telling it how it is! And for the record, I’m sitting at the back until the schools get the whole “fast pass” thing up and running.

  8. I have a confession – I am so burned out that I skipped my daughter’s 6th grade Spring concert – it was coupled with a school talent show and the other age group choirs. It lasted from 7 to 10 – and she had to be there at 6:30. she stands in the back row and sings in a choir group – 3 songs, (maybe 15 min of stage time) and the songs are ones which I have heard from last year’s Spring concert sixth grade class…. And of course I never choose the right side of the auditorium to sit on in order to get a picture, let alone see her. Thankfully she liked the idea of being on her own with her friends. Don’t get me wrong the first few years are precious!

    • Lesa, with three kids doing everything, church youth group, sports, Boyscouts, Girl Scouts and Brownies, dance lessons, on and on, I quickly learned I couldn’t be at everything. I discovered something wonderful happened to my children in my absence. When they got home I got to see their world though their Their stories are some my best memories.

  9. Confessions of a former choir Mom – most of the kids were awesome talented. *Most* of most of the shows were well-performed and fun. The rest – the not well-performed bits (by someone else’s kid), the 12th verse of that shmookey song, the horrible uniforms that flattered no one, the endless rehearsals (when were we supposed to eat?), and the endless driving back and forth – I am OUT, baby! Thank God they DO graduate!

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