As I stood backstage last Thursday evening with the Raider Voices during the Candlelight Concert, my mind was flooded with thoughts and my heart with emotions.
Rusty and I are in our 21st year here at Randolph. We have seen change and growth, some of it peaceful and gradual, some of it more rapid.
But through it all, I have always felt that the power of Randolph School is its commitment to its students, whoever they may be and whatever their gifts. The Candlelight Concert brings that home to me every year.
Don't Stop Believin'
I listened to the Young Voices (the 3rd and 4th Grade Choir) sing Dona Nobis Pacem and realized these were some of the same kindergartners to whom I read The Backward Bird Dog. How did they get from being five years old to being in the 5th grade?
Then the Raider Voices sang Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
It may not strictly be a holiday song, but its lyrics fit this 21st century season of faith, love, and optimism. These are the young people, in this year, all girls, whom I teach. I wish there were more than just a “baker’s dozen” of them.
Earlier in the show, the Upper School A Cappella Club sang Billy Joel’s “The Longest Time.” While not really a song for the season, it showcased the talent, skill and commitment these Upper Schoolers invest to give an excellent performance.
Finally, the culminating performances of “Light a Candle” and with “Let There be Peace on Earth”. Those two songs have become a tradition for the Candlelight Concert, and brought tears to my eyes.
Hold onto that feeling
All of the young people who performed Thursday night are more than musicians; they are scholars and athletes as well. They are volleyball players, academic team players, cheerleaders, and actors, among many other activities. They work very hard to balance all of their commitments to give as much as they possibly can.
I have been a part of independent school education for more than 30 years. Yikes! But I can also honestly say that Randolph is second to none in its commitment to arts, athletics, and academics. We are all committed to building all these strengths in all our students. We try to help them balance cross country practice with Scholar’s Bowl practice, with play practice, with chemistry tests. This is the strength and, I might add, the unique characteristic, of Randolph I value greatly.
Raider Voices performs Silent Night with ukuleles.