Last night my friend, "Barb", and I went with my boyfriend, "Rick", to his daughter's middle school chorus recital. He blithely recommended earplugs, but we were still enticed to go because they had a very nice catered dinner that accompanied it.
It was horrid, but at least the food was good. And everyone seemed to agree, though I doubt they'll tell their kids or the teacher that. I'll bet the Principal gets no complaint letters, and the whole mess is proclaimed a success.
The sound system was poor, but that should have made no difference if the kids could sing. But the chorus teacher had apparently never taught them about projection, how to properly use their voices, or how to perform well.
Afterwards, we asked Rick's daughter if the teacher gave individual lessons and she said that the teacher did not. We were surprised, but it explained why the kids were universally awful with the exception of one girl who obviously either has private lessons or a parent that's been on the stage.
With no one to work with any of them individually, these kids have a passive group mentality and are content to graze with the herd instead of soaring with the eagles (with that one exception). Their voices were wispy and insignificant, and their accompanying dance moves were half-hearted at best.
I understand shyness, and remember the middle school years and it isn't with any fondness. But I also took chorus. My curmudgeonly teacher insisted on our performance being top-notch. We may not have been perfect, but we tried.
These kids didn't try.
Queen's "Somebody to Love" was terribly butchered by a quartet who interrupted their performance halfway through to have one of their singers do some ballet moves about the room while they were singing (or perhaps I should say whispering) off-key. It was the only part that elicited applause, as it was the only part done well. The two pretty girls were given the leads, and the accompanying fat girls whispered the chorus and looked uncomfortable.
A couple other girls sat down to a duet of some depressing modern song and, thankfully, the only thing that stood out was their shocking pink and black striped stockings. It was a delight to not hear their voices, although occasionally our dinner was interrupted with an untimely squawk.
I could go on about this, but you get the picture. With a couple of rare exceptions, the performances were truly terrible.
This is, again, where so many modern "arts" teachers seem to fail. Since standards were higher at one time, parents could expect better performances. But now everyone is afraid of expecting anything better than average (or even below average) for fear of offending or discouraging someone.
So, our expectations and standards are lowered, and we're subjected to lowered quality, too. Someday they will no longer even bother to have recitals, and I await that day with great anticipation, because I don't see any way that we can regain our standards that we lost so long ago.