Last Monday evening, in a little church in a quiet corner of Nepean, Ontario my faith in the goodness of people was strengthened. 125 teenagers, 90 of them students from Nepean High School, and 35 more who had travelled all the way from St. Patrick’s Regional Secondary School in Vancouver stood together and sang. And they sang for many reasons.
They sang so that two Kenyan teenagers who would never have otherwise gone to school past grade 8, could be given the chance of a lifetime- to go to high school .
They sang to raise money to buy the equipment they needed to be able to give more concerts.
But they also sang because dang it, I think they just love to sing! Their beaming smiles, their clapping and dancing, their laughter and excitement, not to mention the hours and hours of hard work spent in learning the music and practicing made for an overwhelmingly great performance.
It’s tough being a teenager!
But on Monday evening, 125 of them put their heartbreaks and heartaches, drama and intrigue, personal struggles, family challenges, stresses and fears that are part of their everyday life, part of all of our everyday lives, on hold, to share their talent and hard work with the audience. 125 people made a choice to do something positive, to make the world a better place, by sharing their energy, their talent, their bravery, their beautiful music.
They strengthened my faith in humanity (which comes out my eyeballs in the form of tears), and reminded me that there are some wonderful people doing wonderful things even for complete strangers whom they are unlikely to ever meet.
From the very first notes of the concert, as the students walked proudly and excitedly up the centre aisle of the church to take their places on the risers at the front, I was moved. And while I wanted desperately to thank the students and directors for all that they had done and all that I had experienced, I knew I would be reduced to tears, to being a “ball baby” as my grandpa would have said so I just beamed smiles, teary-eyed and applauding wildly (okay I might have let out the odd “woohoo” or two as well) trying to express my appreciation. So here, publicly, formally, in writing, I say thank-you to every single one of you, nashukuru, with deepest gratitude for your effort.
I commend the two directors, my brother Lee Carter who organized the event, and Mr. Tony Araujo who reached out to Lee to have his choir from Vancouver collaborate with Lee’s choirs from Nepean. It was obvious to everyone in the audience that your students love learning from you both, they respect you, they like you, and they are willing to work very hard together to reach the goals you set for them. Thank you for being such fine leaders and teachers and for sharing your many skills with your students and with all of us who were fortunate enough to attend the concert.
I’m looking forward to next year’s event already!