Monday, April 27, 2009

Gone but not forgotten

You move on from things, and it becomes easier and easier to forget about them. When you start to forget about them, you start to forget how valuable your time there was. Tonight I went to the AU Singers Spring Show. Spring Show is the big one. It's the culmination of year's work and it usually lasts around two hours. I've been out of Singers for two years and many of those memories are already starting to fade. How could I forget them? How could I forget how many hours I spent in rehearsal? How could I forget the thousands of hilarious things we did and said in Singers? How could I forget the incredible musical moments? Tonight made them all come flooding back. It's a tradition in AU Singers that Alums are invited back onstage to sing one of the final pieces "What Would I Do Without My Music." It's a ballad that encompasses all that Singers stands for. It talks about the simple value of music in a person's life. I went back onstage and sang the piece as the former director and founder of the group, Dr. Tom Smith, conducted. Emotional? Yes. But not emotions of sadness or longing. Rather, these were emotions of pure joy. Being on the teaching end of music these days, I rarely get to sing anymore. Singing in a choir is one of the things I miss most. Sitting amongst friends, bright lights in my face, Dr. Smith conducting; it was joy. It made me really stinkin' happy. It's true, I had many mixed emotions about singers during my four years. But tonight reminded me and re-proved to me that AU Singers was such a huge part of my life for four years. I made so many great memories with so many great people. It's a time of my life I never want to forget. Thanks Singers.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Trills and Thrills

First, let me breathe.... (huge sigh of relief).... ok.

This weekend, the band director and I took our band and choir to Atlanta for our big spring trip. I have to admit, I was nervous. But, after the first few hours, I knew that this was going to be a great trip. Allow me to recap:

We met at the school at 7:30 a.m. After a meeting with all students and chaperones, we loaded the buses and were on our way. Two hours later, we stopped at a mall to eat lunch. Our choices were: Chick-fil-a, or three Asian restaurants. Needless to say, the line for Chick-fil-a was a mile long. After we ate, we loaded the buses and left for the World of Coke. If you haven't been, it's worth a visit. They sure do a great job of making you want to drink a coke. They show a short animated film, then a self-guided tour through the museum begins. The tour ends with the tasting room, where you can drink all the coke you want and try the other 63 flavors of coke products from around the world. After we pumped the kids full of caffeine, we went to check into the hotel. This was the part I was perhaps the most nervous about. It takes a while to check 227 kids into a hotel! The hotel gave us a stack of room keys and a list of names and room numbers. We had to sort throught them, and figure out which room key packets went with which pre-determined room of kids. As it turned out, I was missing close to fifteen room key packets. Eventually, we got it all figured out and kids got checked into rooms. From there, we went to ESPN Zone. Here, kids got to play a million arcade games and eat an all you can eat buffett. After that it was back to the hotel and lights out, tomorrow is an early morning. Wake up call was at 5:00 a.m. (4:00 a.m. CST) We got all the kids fed and loaded onto the buses.
The whole reason we went on this trip was to perform in a music festival. Sure, we did a ton of other really fun things, but the performance (in my opinion) was the most important experience for the kids. We were performing at the Trills and Thrills music festival being held at Marietta Middle School. The band got "Superior" ratings, which is incredible. The choir peformed at 8:50 a.m. Luckily, we had plenty of time to warm up and were ready to go at our performance time. We sang our first piece well, with only one major mistake (which I take full responsibility for.) After a brief pause, we sang our second piece and, in my opinion, really sang it well. I was so proud of these kids. It all came together at that performance and I really felt like we were a team. We got "excellent" ratings, which I'm perfectly happy with and I think we deserved.
We spent the rest of the day in Six Flags riding roller coasters, eating junk food, screaming our brains out, sweating, and generally loving life. By the time we got home last night, I think the kids were sufficiently worn out and ready to be home. It was such a great weekend and I'm so proud of my kids not only for their performance, but for their overall behavior this weekend. I love my job.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where There's Smoke...

We had morning rehearsal this morning. Eighty kids in one room make it hot, no matter the temperature outside. So, I turned on the air conditioner. The room quickly cooled and all was well. Fast forward to first period. The kids said they were cold, so I turned the AC off. Fast forward to third period. The sun was out (beautiful day) and it was beginning to get warm again in my classroom. Again, I turned on the AC. This time, however, nothing happened. The room did not get cooler. I thought little of it and went about my day thinking it might "kick in" any minute. Fast forward to fourth period. I'm in the middle of talking to my students about this weekend when I smell the unmistakable smell of an electrical fire. Immediately I think of the AC unit. I ran to the back of the room, threw stacks of chairs aside to get to the closet that housed the AC unit. I expected billowing flames and smoke. I opened the door. No flames, just smoke. A light smoke started to seep into the room through the air vents in the ceiling. A haze clouded the room and kids started coughing. I immediately told them to go sit outside. I called my principal on the new phones that have been installed in our rooms. She answered very happily, "Hi!"
"Umm.... Mrs. Beebe, there's smoke coming into my room from the ceiling."
"I'm on my way!" she said.
When she arrived she ordered everyone out of my building, called the office to get them to call the fire department, and got someone else to pull the fire alarm and evacuate the WHOLE SCHOOL! I didn't see it, but later a student told me that four fire trucks pulled up and about thirty fully dressed firemen went running into the building. There were people from Central Office. We sat outside for about twenty minutes, when students started going back into the building. By this time, the next class had begun so I sent my students on. I went back to my room and nobody was in there. I had to talk to an assistant principal to find out what happened. Turns out the AC motor had blown or burned up and the fan was just blowing that smell into the room. No biggie. Good adventure. I won't have A/C in my room for quite a while, according to my principal. I started to feel guilty and embarrassed, but I really had nothing to do with it. Nothing like a little adventure to keep you on your toes!

Tomorrow, I take sixty-seven seventh graders to Atlanta with 160 members of the Drake Band. It's going to be a blast. Coke museum, ESPN Zone, Performance at a festival, all day in Six flags. If you're the praying type, pray for us. I'll tell you how it goes!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Poison of Mass Appeal

I'm one of those people that likes to dislike what everyone likes. Let me rephrase. Every now and then there are certain things that most people like. I tend to dislike them mostly because... everyone likes it. I know it's kind of backwards, but I'm not alone. It's really a common thing with people my age. This is especially so with music. Enter Ben Harper. When he became popular with his beachy, hippie style, I immediately began the disliking process. Some of his most popular songs include "Burn one down," and "Steal my kisses." The latter was so repetetive and had such mainstream success that I really began to loathe it. All of that changed yesterday. I went home to my parent's house this weekend for Easter. I spent some time across the street with their neighbor Joe. Joe is a music lover and musician who loves to try out new instruments. His most recent purchase was an acoustic lap slide guitar. I had never even seen one until yesterday. He said his inspiration for the purchase was the music of Ben Harper. He showed me a video of Ben playing a similar instrument and my opinion of him immediately changed. His mainstream success with repetitive songs about pot and women overshadowed his real talent. Joe gave me a Ben Harper album called "Both Sides of the Gun." I listened to the whole thing on my drive back to Auburn last night and really enjoyed it! Perhaps I shouldn't write people off so fast when they become popular with mediocre music. Sometimes, there's a true talent behind the mainstream junk.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter... Yo!

At the urging of my brother "It's time for a new blog post, brocephus", and my father, "just post a link... that's what Joe Cribbs does," I've decided to do both. I will now post a link as my newest blog post. Happy Easter everyone.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Is That Your Final Answer?

One of the things that has always caused me to become uneasy is the altar call, or invitation to the altar. This is a common practice in many churches and at many worship services. Most of the time, it is done with the best of intentions: bringing people into a relationship with Christ. That, in itself, is a great thing. It's the best thing; the most important event that could happen to a person. But is it our (human's) job to make this happen? I don't think it is. We, as humans, are completely incapable of saving anyone's soul from sin, death, and eternal separation from Christ. So why then, do pastors and religious leader insist on trying to make this thing happen? Won't God take care of it when He and his child are ready? I'm in no position to doubt the inegrity of anyone's decision at an altar call or otherwise. It simply seems to me like these people are coerced into accepting Christ when it's convenient for the pastor. Back off reverend, let the only one who CAN save, save!
Secondly, if you've ever experienced an "altar call"
, you get the sense that it's some one time commitment, and afterward everything will be fine. "Okay, I just need your signature here.... that's it.... congratulations you're the proud new owner of a 2009 Relationship with Christ with airbags and anti-lock brakes." That's great for the new believer. But those of us that have already made that decision just sit there like "Oh, I'm fine... thanks though." Like we've just eaten a huge meal and are being offered more mashed potatoes. Romans tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If this was true 2000 years ago, and it's still true today, this must mean that we CONTINUALLY sin and fall short of the glory of God. Thus, we CONTINUALLY need salvation! Rather than it being a one time, sign on the line and everything's fine event, what if it were a weekly, daily, moment by moment event? I know that I need to invite Christ into my heart and hand him the reigns of my life multiple times a day, if not near constantly.
Sure, the moment that a non-believer comes into the fold for the first time is a momentous occasion. But the enemy is constantly fighting for our attention, affections, loyalties, time, commitments, relationships, etc. We should constantly be fighting for those back, in order that we might hand them right back over to Christ.
I'm reminded of a skit that our FCA leadership team did Friday morning at FCA. Taylor sat on a stool. The stool represented her life, her heart, all the things I mentioned above (essentially the steering wheel of her life). Christ approached her and she invited him to sit on the stool, to take over for h
er, to be in the driver's seat. Then, one of her friends would approach her and ask if she wanted to go to this party, or get some older guy to buy them beer, or (insert another distraction from the Lord here). Taylor would think about it, then say "Sure!" as she knocked Christ off the stool and sat back down. This happened multiple times. The object of the story being that we try to take over our own lives, to be in charge, multiple times A DAY. The remedy for this, in my opinion, is not only a one time acceptance of and invitation to Christ. Rather, it's a constant, recurring plea for Christ to come back in; to sit on that stool and drive. So maybe we do need the altar call. Constantly.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Last to Go

Well, that's it. All four of my pregnant friends from work have now hatched their offspring. Katie was the last to go, yesterday. I'm happy for her, and for all of the new moms. However, if I may, I'd like to explore a selfish vein for a moment. These formerly expectant mothers were all people I regularly talked with and enjoyed the company of at work. Who will I talk to now? Gee thanks, procreation.