Last night while on a rare family outing to see the musical Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (rare because it didn’t take place at a hockey arena), Andrew and I officially became an embarrassment to our kids. That’s right. We had the audacity, the unmitigated gall, to openly express our appreciation for the performing arts in public. I know … someone call Children’s Aid.
Our first bout of emotional incontinence, however, happened even before we got to the theatre. We were waddling out of Sera’s on Bloor having stuffed ourselves with creamy comfort-linguini when we passed a middle-aged woman standing in the frigid cold strumming her beat up Takamine acoustic. Ever the sucker for a busker, having been one myself briefly in my twenties, I gave the kids a few coins to toss into her open guitar case, then stood on the sidewalk for a minute to listen to her play. As she broke into Blue Rodeo’s “Till I Am Myself Again”, Andrew and I got a little caught up in the camaraderie of it all and started singing along with her. Loudly.
Recoiling in horror as if we’d thrown raw sewage into their mouths, both children moaned incoherently as they turned away in disgust, then stood about thirty feet away pretending not to know us. Fearing extensive therapy bills (for the children as well), we reluctantly abandoned our harmonies, gathered up our post-traumatically stressed little darlings and headed for the show.
As the curtain rose on the opening act, seven young actors took to the stage and began singing like seasoned little angels, one as young as nine years of age, according to the program. I was so blown away by the power of their voices, let alone the raw nerve it takes to get up there in the first place, that I launched my retina-shattering thumb and forefinger whistle when the song was over. In spite of the tasered reactions from my kids, I let that piercing screech of appreciation ring out after every song they sang, unapologetically and without reservation. Because that’s the sound all performing artists long to hear, that unmistakable shrill tone that says “I’m excited to be here and I love what you just did!”
Of course, an air horn might have said the same thing, but I couldn’t fit it into my clutch that night.
(You’re welcome kids.)
Andie Duncan’s ability to communicate has taken her from JUNO Nominated songwriter to published author. As an older mom to two young kids, she relies on the humour in everyday life to inspire her stories, if not to ensure her very survival.