On Saturday, Fletcher auditioned for the Armstrong Atlantic Youth Orchestra. The kid loves playing violin. Loves it. And while to my ear it still sounds pretty darn squeaky much of the time, he does not seem deterred. So when a friend mentioned the youth orchestra auditions, I thought why not.
We called in early December and learned that the auditions would be January 7th. Fletcher would need to play one song that he knew well and also be able to play scales and a new piece by sight. At the time, a month seemed like plenty of time to practice. But it was December, and he wound up only having 2 lessons and a few sporadic days of practice during that month.
Oh well. We decided to go ahead with the audition – worst case scenario he would hear from the orchestra director what he needed to focus on in order to do better next time. R & I tried to prepare him, telling him that as artists we get rejected all the time. It’s part of the process, and if he didn’t get in it only meant he needed to practice more and try again. No big deal.
But he said, the night before the audition, that is was a big deal. That he really, really wanted to do this. That he would cry if he didn’t make it.
I told him it was ok to cry, that all he could really do was try his best.
And I held my breath.
On Saturday morning Fletcher and I drove out to Armstrong Atlantic State University for the audition. In the car he was chatting about his new Skylanders game and his playdate that afternoon. He seemed fine. Then we walked into the building, and the nerves kicked in. As I was filling in his paperwork people kept trying to talk to him, but he could barely answer.
At one point he squeezed my hand, pulled me down so he could whisper in my ear, and said “Mommy, I’m really nervous.”
I took him outside for a minute. We sat in the sun and he played his song for me one more time. And then he was gone – whisked into the warm-up room – and I was left to wait.
It felt like I waited a loooooooong time. Kids of all ages came and went with various instruments, and when I heard snippets coming from the warmup room they all sounded amazingly good. I had to remind myself that these kids were auditioning for different orchestras at different levels. None of them were as young as Fletcher. I got an update that he was still in the warm-up room, nervously rosining his bow. The manager told me his bow was so well rosined he might never need to do it again! But hey, whatever it takes to work out that nervous energy, right?
I sat there and prepared myself to console him, to tell him again how proud I was of him even trying, how amazed I am by his musical talents.
And then he came out, violin in one hand, his acceptance letter in the other, and a huge grin on his face! He pumped his letter in the air. He was barely touching the ground as he crossed the room towards me. He got in!!!
The boy is crazy proud of himself, and I am crazy proud of him. He is an official member of the AAYO Debut Strings Ensemble, and his first concert is coming up in March. We need to get him black dress pants and shoes and a black satin bow tie! I grin every time I think about it.
In case you can’t tell, I am so proud I could pop. Not so much because he got into the ensemble, but because he tried. He was scared and shy but he didn’t let that stop him. Frankly, I’m not sure anything can stop that kid. 🙂