Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bands of Light

Nerves ran high before the Kingsmen band performed at a local Borders last Tuesday. At least the parents were concerned and a bit self-conscious about letting our adolescent boys make this debut public appearance.

The boys belted out "Hang on Sloopy" and the youngest member of the band (9) graced us with a heartfelt solo of Ingrid Michaelson's poignant song "The Way I Am."

"Don't Worry about a Thing" chirped the Bob Marley lyrics as they called it a night. Reid said his obligatory thank you's to the cluster of teachers who came to support him, negotiated a DVD purchase with Dad and off we went to bed on a school night.

All's well that ends well. Practice makes perfect. Keep up the good work. Oh ye of little faith. Music in a universal language. The show must go on. You don't mind if I write in all cliches, do you?

How often have you been in a place where you could not see the future but needed to step into it anyway? The boys did this. The band leaders from The Music Therapy Center of California did it. We, moms, did it. As parents of kids with autism, we are pioneers whether we like it or not. I hadn't realized until afterwards what uncharted territory it is to have a special needs band performing in a neurotypical, public venue. It shouldn't matter and in many ways it didn't matter. At the same time, that is what made it meaningful.

Perhaps the most telling commentary were from the store manager afterwards. He said the 30 minute show was better than most of the in-store events they've had. What's more...he'd love to have the Kingsmen back on a regular basis! We'll have to see about that*@!*? (His son was not in the band; I promise.) Music has a universal appeal and so does hope. Could it be that hope is what he found appealing? Hope is compelling, even marketable to him, his clientele, and to the world.

My nephew has been to Berklee school of music and led bands from Boston to LA with his magnanimous personality and superior saxophone skill. He told Reid once that "Half of success is just showing up." Woody Allen thought it was 80%. True, practical, sage advice for any man. Much of what we need to know in life can be boiled down and made that simple...whether its the gospel, making a living, or pursuing a dream.

Flame is a band who just showed up and now they have a custom fire painted tour bus! The group began as a recreation program at Lexington Center in New York state. They were so well received by local audiences that they've now recorded two CD's and are moving from regional to national ambitions. Check out this promo tape and you'll wonder, is it Tracy Chapman or is it Michelle King? Reading the bios of Michelle and the other band members makes that old "Up, up with people" track run through my mind!

I don't do prophecy but I do enjoy forward thinking! Does anyone know of other bands like Flame and the Kingsmen? Please chime in if you do.

"By day you led them with a pillar of cloud, and by night with a pillar of fire to give them light on the way they were to take." Nehemiah 9:12

"We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!" 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 The Message

"...we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us." Romans 5:3

1 comment:

  1. Hello Andrea, Thanks for visiting my blog! I have enjoyed reading about the Kingsmen and the Flames. I'm so glad there are groups like this! I watched the Flames video and it is so inspiring and uplifting. I hope my son will some day be able to take part in a band like this.