The toes are tapping, and I am glad of it.
Not one foot, but dozens of them scattered under the semicircle of chairs for the first middle school band concert of the year. Some are on the downbeat, some are on the up beat, but all, mostly, are in sync.
And I am glad of it, not only for the happiness of these tapping toes, but because back in my long ago youth, toe tapping was strictly forbidden at a concert even though every ounce of our young souls wanted to do otherwise.
For there was something joyous about tapping your foot to the beat of a spirited Sousa march, something reassuring when you had long measures of rest to count quietly in your head, and something calming when you were already a nervous wreck.
Our toes just wanted to tap, and so we learned to tap them invisibly within the confines of our shoes, which was not nearly as effective not to mention a bit painful.
But today, music education has clearly become more tolerant of toe tapping, and I am glad of it.
For at a time when our nation is sorely divided, when stories of angry acts and ugly words fill our news feeds everyday, I am reminded how delightful it is to see a stage full of middle schoolers, an age group known for their unique diversity, striving and succeeding to make magical music together.
As we enter this sacred season of song, perhaps we too can take note from our young musicians and find a shared harmony for our divergent views. Maybe a little toe tapping would help keep us united. All together now… one, two three, four…
I’m Marnie O. Mamminga, and that’s my perspective.