I spent a lot of time yesterday aware of teenagers.
The Fort Wayne Youth Chorale invited the Indianapolis Youth Chorale and two local high school choirs (Concordia and Northrup) for a day of singing. They rehearsed together and gave a concert at 4:00pm. Each choir performed individually, then the two youth chorales, and then all four choirs. Nearly three hundred voices. Together. Focused. In tune. Inside music.
A few hours later, the drama department finished their final performance of ‘leading Ladies’. After 8 weeks of rehearsal, the 20 or so cast and crew pulled off three strong performances. Good audience response, some great characterization, and, of course, wonderful co-student directing. (Complete objectivity, but full disclosure: related to co student director–oh, and do you like the banister? We builtit, Hope and I).
Of course, as always happens with drama, the wonderful set which was created with patience and ingenuity, was gone within two hours of the last shot. Those same 20 students tore it apart, put most of the pieces away, and headed to Steak and Shake for the traditional party. And then we’ll start it all over again in January as we start working on the yet-to-be-announced musical.
Three hundred high school kids involved in hard work and creativity and high performance standards and cooperation and fun and doing what they never thought possible. It was an amazing day.
What puts it in interesting perspective for me is the time I spent last week reading a book titled UnChristian. I’ll talk about it later, i think, but in brief, it reports that 16-35 year olds find church, among other things, hypocritical and sheltered. It seems irrelevant, unconnected to what matters. They tend to have had some expereince with church but to have found it pointless and left.
And it would be easy to say that kids are to blame, that they don’t care about anything anyway, but then I spend a day like yesterday. I think that the problem lies not with the kids, but with church that tries to entertain rather than engage, that somehow doesn’t offer something that challenges and energizes. The choirs sing sacred music but may not connect it to anything or anyone sacred.
And that isn’t their fault.
But I guess that might be why Nancy and I spent most of our days yesterday with kids. Outside church. Because on some days, their generation is right about church as an institution. But I don’t what them to be right at all about church as related people.
And so, we are looking forward to the concerts in two weeks and the production in two months. Because it’s nice to be part of a church that meets (people) in theaters and concert hallways.