I was a member of the National Forensics League. If you give me a minute, I could probably remember my rank. I faithfully got up–generally before dawn–most Saturday mornings between September and the first weekend of May, PUT ON PANTYHOSE, grabbed my Walkman, and stumbled to a school bus which then took us to such exotic locales as Monticello and Clinton, Mississippi for speech and drama competitions. I don’t want to brag, but I could do a “Clear Glass Marbles” that would make a dictator cry. I was kind of a big deal. Not really, but I did hear these girls talking about me once. They were really glad they weren’t in a round with me. I dominated.
Point being, we never had to pay for much more than lunch and snacks when we went to these tournaments. But as we all know, art, choir, drama, band, and other classes which might be construed as artsy-fartsy aren’t important in high school. No, the fact that I had to learn discipline to get up that damn early, memorize two or three different pieces, speak for 3 to 5 minutes on a subject pulled from a hat, build a stage set, and find out that pantyhose stuffed with newspaper makes an excellent fake turkey are not things that are important for kids to learn.
My high school, Laurel High, has gone through some changes in the
twenty-two ten years since I was graduated. But one thing that hasn’t changed apparently is that there is a ton of talent in that school. It seems the Select Choir has been asked to sing at Carnegie Hall. Yeah, a choir from Laurel, Mississippi has been invited to perform at the Octavo Series which will be conducted by Dr. Anton Armstrong, conductor of the St. Olaf Choir. The thirty-five member choir has raised most of the $60,000 to go, but I just read today they are about $5,000 short.
If you are reading this, you probably know me. If you know me, you might have been in school with me. If you were in school with me, we probably went on some trips together. I am challenging you, Laurel High alums, to make up the difference. Look, there are enough of us that $20 here and there could get these kids to New York. Can you imagine? And even if they hit the $5,000 tomorrow, we need to pony up some Benjamins. There are likely to be kids who will need suitcases, clothes, incidentals.
Guys, I ain’t too proud to beg for these kids. The opportunities I had to take trips like this changed my life, no kidding. For the first time in my life, I realized I was good at something. It’s time to replace what was given. Even if you didn’t go? SO WHAT? Think of the warm, smug feeling you’ll have knowing you helped send a kid from the Piney Woods of Mississippi to New York.
DO IT FOR THE CHILDREN!
Donations may be sent to:
Laurel High School in the name of LHS Choir.
1100 W 12th St
Laurel, MS 39440
You may contact the choir director, Leander Bridges at 601.649.4145 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.