Here in Mount Washington, talent starts young. If you want to check out the Stars of Tomorrow, forget reality TV and come to the annual Mount Washington Elementary School Talent Show this Friday, June 8.
Even if there are false starts and dropped batons, deer-in-the-headlights stares and wobbly pirouettes--talent shows are pretty wonderful. The year-end event at the top of the Hill is no exception.
There are always karate demonstrations with fierce “ki-yahs” and even fiercer expressions. Gymnastics routines are a staple; makeup and hair buns and scarves are de rigueur.
In first grade, my son and a classmate told jokes. Their shtick was matching t-shirts.
Every year, at every talent show--and every school event for that matter--there is a pack of seven-to-nine-year-old girls that runs here and there, thrumming with intensity and gesturing urgently to one another.
Their performances always involve adorableness and an emphasis on costumes. Fifties poodle skirts frequently make an appearance. Anxious/proud moms watch from the sidelines.
I’ve been in their shoes. But my anxiety always had more to do with the durability of my daughter’s costume than her performance.
My family still talks about the time I carefully sewed flowers onto the skirt of my daughter’s costume and on to my shorts.
The flowers stayed on her costume. The shorts didn’t.
Of course, certain acts stand out over the years because of talent rather than mishaps.
A young lady performed a Hawaiian dance with multiple, bright pink, poi balls spinning on ankles and wrists.
A boy in the lower grades reeled off all of the U.S. Presidents by memory.
A group of fifth and sixth grade girls did a hilarious, rapid-fire riff on a Spanish television channel complete with dramatically sobbing telenovela actors.
I can’t claim to have attended talent shows at every LAUSD school, but I’ve been to quite a few and I’ve never seen anything as quirky and memorable as the three examples above.
Is it the influence of the quirky and wonderful school on the Hill? You be the judge.
Not Just a Talent Show
Friday night’s fun starts with a spaghetti dinner. The on-line wait will undoubtedly be shorter than it was at the recent fundraiser at California Pizza Kitchen. There were long waits because of the impressive turnout, which raised an even more impressive $1,100 for the school in one night.
Folks, that’s a lot of pencils and Pee-chee folders.
The Mount Washington PTA, needless to say, is thrilled and very, very thankful to all who came, waited, and chowed down.
It’s A Most Wonderful Time of the Year
For me, the end-of-school-year activities have always seemed to start somewhere around mid-April and continue until the end of June--or a million years later, whichever comes first.
There are spring concerts and picnics and open houses. There are flash cards and finals, summer programs to reserve, and gifts to buy to thank the dedicated and deserving teachers, principal, and school staff.
It’s a wonderful time of year and I always have a great time. But so much is going on that I often feel like I’m trying to keep my balance while careening down a slippery slope.
The talent show is the soft landing at the bottom of the hill.
There is entertainment. There is food. There is excitement and conviviality. There is a tinge of nostalgia and regret for the year that’s almost over. And yes, there is relief. For parents, the talent show means we're in the home stretch.
So come say good-bye to the year. Take a deep breath. And have some spaghetti.
The Mount Washington Elementary School Talent Show and Spaghetti Dinner is on Friday, June 8th. The spaghetti dinner starts at 5:00 p.m.; the talent show starts at 6:30 p.m.