Tears of Joy

Updated: Nov 4, 2018

What a joy to witness youth discovering their authentic voice and unapologetically letting their unique gifts burst forth into the world! This week we were working on our open session, inspired by the movie, Sing. Each student was preparing an audition piece just as the characters in the film do, to showcase their individual talents. One of our students had brought in the lyrics and backing track for his song and told us that he had been rehearsing at home and was very excited to share it with us. At the beginning of this particular class however, he was a little more nervous than usual, and spent the first half of the class sitting outside of the group circle. I decided to sit beside him and help him take deep breaths... after only just a few of these breaths I noticed the colour in his cheeks re-appear and his usual buoyant energy return.

When his turn came to stand up and share his song in front of his peers, he took hold of the microphone with full commitment. I noticed that with each moment of his feet on the stage he began to stand little taller, holding ground like the star that he is.

Lights, camera, action!

The song began with tender lyrics as the student opened his throat to release the most heart-melting falsetto voice. I immediately had goose bumps! All three teachers' jaws dropped in delight as we were serenaded and transported by his captivating delivery. With each verse his voice grew more open and more confident. Then, the instrumental music took its ascension toward the climax of the song - it was in this moment that the student erupted into his Broadway spotlight moment! He sang with all of his heart, and reached a note that deserved flashing lights, back-up dancers and glitter falling from the sky! Then he flung opens his arms in a wide embrace...and with this gesture the microphone went flying across the room! The eyes of all of the teachers popped—of course first thinking of the hazard of an airborne object! We were relieved to see it was headed in a direction where no one was standing in its path....phew!

All students had their full attention on the star of the moment- their friend! When the song had ended we erupted into applause, “Bravo!!” He sat down with a smile as wide as the room and beyond- he was in his element, his essence, and we had all been given the gift of being witnessing to this.

When I looked beside me I saw another student with tears running down her face.

I asked her, “How are you?” She looked up at me, into my eyes, and said with a tender voice, “Happy. I’m happy.” To which I responded, “I’m so glad! Did you enjoy the performance?” “Yes. I did!” She said. That’s when I realized she had been moved to tears of joy from watching her friend express his heart and soul through song.

“I’m crying too,” I said. “We can cry together.”

And so it seems that all our spirits were lifted by this display of freedom and boundless expression. I believe that when we hold space for the gifts of our community to shine their limitless light onto this earth, each and every one of us are better for it.

By Michaela Bekenn.