Sven's contest is over. It was not the triumphant, against-all-odds Oscar contender I hoped it would be. It was more like a Very Special Saved By the Bell (in which: Zac learns that you can't win 'em all). I suppose Rob Pattinson wouldn't have guest starred on Saved By the Bell...
To recap, Sven took his band to Contest yesterday. They were the second band, the non-varsity band, the young band with eyes full of dreams. Contest has two parts: concert (prepared music) and sight reading (music never seen before). Each part gets a rating. Here is the official rating system:
- I: Excellent, really good, I was actually glad to hear you.
- II: Not bad, still needs some work, but my ears aren't bleeding.
- III: Okay, I understand why you came, but you still need a lot of work.
- IV: Bless your heart.
- V: Go away.
The good news? Sven's band made a III in sight-reading.
They received a "Bless your heart" on stage. :(
Sven says he knows why. One of his very young trumpet players "freaked out" under all the pressure and really bungled the first piece, the march. Sven said he recovered after that, but the judge's minds were probably already made up after that.
Furthermore, Sven's buddy, R-Dog, who helped organize the contest, says that the judges were unusually harsh on non-varsity bands this year, judging them by the same standards as the varsity groups. R-Dog said that many of the non-varsities got III's and IV's on stage. Especially the non-varsity bands from large schools, and since Sven's school is one of the largest in the region...
So Sven feels the IV was perhaps a little harsh, but he understands it. His primary concern, though, is for the kids.
The kids had a BLAST. They had a great time. They heard they got a IV and cheered. When Sven called me from the band hall after returning to town, I could hear the laughter in the background. It really made me see things from Sven's point of view: sometimes it is good to just go do things the kids will enjoy, and not worry about the scores. In 20 years, they may not remember the score they received, but they'll remember the trip and the good time they had.
(Your comments of encouragement have been very well received, as well. Perhaps, in the future, when Sven asks me if I'm going to turn something into an entry for my blog, I won't see the eye-rolling and sarcastic "air quotes" anymore.)
Sven is probably going to get a fair amount of "I told you so" from the more experienced teachers who told him not to go. But, being the man that he is, he will continue on his path, never ceasing from his endless quest to improve the lives of his students.
This does sound like a Very Special Episode. We've got to get a decent guest star for this one...what television actor can accurately portray the anguish, the decency, the...gravitas of Sven?
I've got it: