I can’t see the students on the other side of the wall from my office, but I can imagine the scene that I’m hearing as I listen. The girls sit in a loosely formed circle, some perched on stools, some sliding out of a chair, others with feet firmly planted on the ground. One student is silently shaking her head, refusing to take her turn. Her fellow students, some who have already auditioned and others anxiously waiting for their chance, cheer her on. They offer words of support, chant her name and talk about how their experiences weren’t so bad. “Once you do it you’ll be glad you did!” “It’s not that bad!” “You can do it! Really!”
This could be any class, in any subject. But I am sitting in my classroom next door, eavesdropping on one of Tony Lechner’s vocal classes. It is Middle School Select Chorus auditions, and each girl has come prepared to share a snippet of a song with the group. The returning eighth grade students have done this before. I can hear familiar works by Adele and Rihanna through the wall, and can pick out some voices that I know well. After all, some of these shortened songs I’m hearing today shocked us last year when performed in their entirety (I still brag to my non-teaching friends about witnessing Charlotte’s Spearth Day performance in May). Now I am hearing unfamiliar voices coming through with unfamiliar songs and I assume they belong to the new seventh graders hoping to join the group.