Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sacred Space Re-Sanctified


In 1969, a group of visionary parents bought a church on a little street called Gaven St. and turned into a school. When I arrived in 1975, I was given the room that used to be the chapel for my music program. That always felt right, since each class well-taught and well-received (and it was a bumpy road for awhile!) felt like a worship service minus the dogma and theology or the need to put a name to the sacred forces behind joyful expression and expressive jubilation. At the party celebrating my 20th year at the school, I gave a speech about the music room, the space where so many miraculous works unfolded and named some of the memorable ones. Almost 20 more years since then, the walls hold yet more records of what the human spirit unleashed can accomplish, from children and adults alike.

And today, another sacred event was added to the room’s memory as my granddaughter Zadie walked through the doors. She sampled the xylophones, the piano, the drumset, the congas, the shakers and the wind chimes, enthralled with all the different voice available to sing the spirit. She danced to the 7th grade’s music, helped me teach Table Rhythms to the 8th grade, sat on the choral risers with the 5th grade. But the highlight was the spontaneous circle of 100 elementary kids who gathered around her at Singing Time and sang to her while she danced in the middle. They then stood up and copied her movements while I played “Yes, Sir, That’s My Zadie” on the piano and a more hilarious and sacred event would be hard to come by. The girl is not shy!

This day with Zadie will take its place amongst the potent sacred history of the SF School Music Room, join the Graduations and Samba contests and Cookie Jar contests and Halloween extravaganzas and Martin Luther King ceremonies and exalted guest artist moments (Milt Jackson, Bobby McFerrin and beyond) and singing fests and adult workshops and quiet tender moments in the daily music classes and Sofia’s choir singing last week at Grandparent’s Day and James’ Golden Gate Bridge project presentation last year and farewells to beloved teachers, the whole heart and soul of a community gathered in this old chapel made sacred anew each day truth is told and sung and danced and witnessed by the community together.

Zadie spent five hours at the school surrounded by adoring children and teachers, dancing her heart out, visiting the bunnies and geese, uncapping markers and capping them back up again. When we left, I put her in the car seat and she was asleep after five seconds. She was riding high on Spirit, but even Spirit could use a nap once in a while. Thanks to my darling granddaughter for yet another taste of the sacred in ye old music room.

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