High school students sing art songs.

That isn’t a headline that will be in the Fort Wayne newspapers tomorrow, not nearly as likely as trouble in a school. But it really did happen. About 17 students of two different voice teachers sang songs by Bach and Purcell and Samuel Barber and Puccini and Lerner and Lowe and Gershwin. Old songs. Just a voice and a piano and parents watching and listening.

One girl almost fell off her shoes. The accompanist, outstanding, but could find the music a couple times in the pile of books. Some great talent, plenty of room for growth. Many notes, most in good order, some escaping between the lines and getting lost.

It was just a recital for these students to practice, most of them anyway, for the state music competition next weekend. They were singing under pressure to prepare for the real pressure next week.

And we wonder why sometimes. Why are they singing these old songs? Why are they risking their coolness on the ultimate of old?

Because they want to make something of themselves.

There was nothing memorable tonight, nothing as good–or as bad–as the American Idol episode that I watched tonight. But all of these kids can–and most will–transform the world. Some through their singing. Some through the discipline that comes through singing. Some through the comfort they are learning in front of audiences. Some through the teamwork with a teacher.

And one, at least, because she breaks the heart of her dad every time she sings. This time, singing “our love is here to stay”, she broke his heart twice, once because of her incredible stage presence and once because of the wife sitting next to him, of whom the song is true.

Kids. Art songs. Practice. Delight.

And Hope for the future.

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