Yesterday was a special day for my Professional Development for Vocalists students. We had a wonderful afternoon performing two Christmas Caroling “gigs” at the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital and two at the Ronald McDonald House near Comer Children’s Hospital.
Parents dropped their students at Comer Children’s Hospital at 1:30 p.m. The students spent the entire afternoon and early evening with me. Their parents picked them up from the Ronald McDonald House at 7:00 p.m. My son Edward was kind enough to spend the day with us as a chaperone.
We had some time between engagements, so we walked to the Seven-Ten Restaurant/Bowling Alley on 55th Street in Hyde Park, where we relaxed a little and I bought the students pizza. I spoke with the manager Manny and he was thrilled to have the students sing Christmas Carols right there in the bowling alley! The Seven-Ten patrons loved it. There were several young families there. The children sang along to Jingle Bells. Everyone had a great time.
While at Seven-Ten, my phone rang and it was ABC-7 TV. The students and I were absolutely thrilled. They were coming out to cover our performance at the Ronald McDonald House! We finished our meals, made bathroom pit stops, gathered our things, put on our coats and headed out into the beautiful falling snow for the four-block walk to the Ronald McDonald House.
Upon our arrival, we saw the ABC-7 truck sitting in the parking lot. Pat, the camera man was happy to see us and we were all looking forward to being featured on the 10:00 p.m. ABC News broadcast.
Just as the students were ready to perform, Pat pulled his phone out of his pocket only to find that he had received a text from the ABC station requiring him to leave immediately to cover a breaking story. The students were so disappointed. But this situation added to the learning overall learning experience. I told the students that they should be very proud of having gotten ABC to come out at all. Getting press for an event is not an easy thing. Important news of the day takes precedence over human interest stories.
This snafu did not dampen spirits. The students went ahead with their 5:00 performance at the Ronald McDonald House. As the students were singing Carol of the Bells, a darling little six-year-old boy named Avery entered the room in his tiny wheelchair. The students were immediately taken in by him and Avery was overjoyed with the music. After the singing was finished, the students wanted a photo taken with Avery in front of the Ronald McDonald House Christmas Tree. So we did. Avery is in the center, wearing red.