Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Serenading the State House
Today was the first day of the 143rd Delaware General Assembly. Colleen helped open the proceedings in the state House of Representatives as part of the Southern Delaware School of the Arts 7th and 8th grade choir. Karen was along as teacher, chaperone, and sound engineer. I took time off from my job across the St. Jones River from Legislative Hall and wandered over to listen, watch, and take pictures.
That's what Dads do.
The kids came up by bus and, after they cleared security, cooled their heels in a meeting room just off the House Chamber. When I got there, some of the other parents were wandering around wondering how to get into the Chamber to watch.
The House Sergeant at Arms and his crew were fairly stressed trying to make sure that the families of all 41 of the elected Representatives had a place to sit in the Chamber or in the Gallery above to watch their wives, husbands, moms, dads, daughters, or sons sworn-in to their two year terms.
There were no seats to be had and no standing in the back. In the end, we were able to watch quietly from the doorway of the room in which the kids had been kept. We were off to the side and way in the back, but able to listen, watch, and take pictures.
That's what Dads do.
The kids opened with the Star Spangled Banner. They sang Amazing Grace, and a Broadway tune. They closed with a medley of patriotic favorites. They sang well, despite the cramped and crowded conditions. They sounded very good.
Credit is due to their music teacher, Lou Ann Hudson. I enjoyed watching her helping the kids through the music. At one point, she had to slow down a group of boys with good voices but a tendency to rush the tempo. She reined them in and prodded the rest of the choir back into rhythmic line and brought them home in one piece.
Normally, Legislative Hall on opening day is the last place I want to visit. The first day is a day of ceremony; a time for the Senators and Representatives and their families. The real work begins the next day.
But with Colleen and her classmates performing in the House I had to be there. To listen, watch, and take pictures.
It is, after all, what dads do.