Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Arts Promo, Sports Style

(Speech for an arts awards assembly in the Middle School of The Walker School today.  I've cut out the names of students.)

A week ago, a seventh grade girl presented an inspirational speech from a movie by Sylvester Stallone, and then we saw an exciting video based on that speech.  We saw gladiators prepare for battle, a man lift a huge weight, and a dad tell his boy that it's not about how hard you hit, but how you take hits and still go on.  

Arts teach something like that.  To show how, I can imagine the video I'd make.
First, we'd see a middle school band starting a new piece, and we'd hear a noise like cars honking in a traffic jam in Marietta as the train goes by.  Closeup of Mr. Kofoed, smiling through gritted teeth.  He says, "Let's try that again."
Cut to Mrs. Simpson's art class.  A girl works on a colorful picture of a bird.  Suddenly she crumples it up and pulls out another blank page.
We see 8th graders scatter all over this auditorium.  Some girls squeal, "Oh, it's a death ray!"  Some boys are crawling under the stage yelling, “I found a bomb!”   Suddenly, one boy on a metal platform falls down screaming, "My leg! My leg!" The teacher runs over to the boy, in a panic.  Someone says, "No, B----, you don't even come in yet."  The boy jumps up.  The teacher, relieved, wipes sweat from his brow.
Cut to girls dancing to "All I Want for Christmas is you."  Their smiles seem forced.  They all turn different directions as a boy goes by on a skateboard, laughing at them. One girl says, "A---, that's not working."  The other girl sighs, "Take it from the top."
Cut to another bird picture.  The girl crumples up this one too.  New blank page.
We hear something like the sound of seven hungry cats in a cage, and we see a closeup of Mr. Johnson saying to his orchestra students, "That's so much better than yesterday!  Now, can we work on playing it together?"
We see Mrs. Hawk, telling a group of sixth graders, "You can be anything you want to be!  A star athlete, a clown, a toothbrush.  All you have to do is imagine it."
Cut to another bird picture.  This time, the girl adds a crooked branch -- frowns, but keeps going.
There's a picture of the sun rising over the third wing of Walker School.  We hear the voice of Mrs. Walker, stern, but caring.  "You all have different personalities, and you all have different voices – especially L----   -- but you all must listen to each other and blend as one voice!  Now, start again from ‘Hallelujah!’”
As the chorus begins to sing, we see Mrs. Simpson hanging a beautiful picture of the bird and branch in our Middle School hall.
Finally we hear Mr. Loudermilk while credits scroll across the screen:   Art is always about sharing your ideas with others who have ideas of their own, and working through draft after draft, rehearsal after rehearsal, giving up some ideas and adding new ones, adding layer on layer of detail until it’s something better than you dreamed of. 
That’s not just true in art.   It’s how we live and work and build our lives.”
Cue the theme from Rocky.  Video, over.

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