Josmery's song that day was "I Love All Graceful Things." Not one of my favorites, but a sweet song that showed off her beautiful high notes. Practices went well; Josmery was prepared and professional throughout.
At the performance, Josmery forgot the words to her song. I assure you, this happens to singers very often, and it is always unsettling. Josmery didn't miss a beat, however, and continued to sing, making up words that not only fit in with the rest of the song, but that rhymed. Even her teacher didn't know she messed up, but I saw it all. I thought to myself, "This kid has got it. She's the real thing."
In 2003, after graduating college, I was hired to be the assistant choir director at the high school Josmery attended. I taught her junior and senior year, and got to know her fairly well. She made the All-State choir both years, ranking first in the area her senior year. I helped her with that audition. I really thought that was as good as it got.
I'm writing this at 11:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 16. I just got home from Josmery's senior recital for her Bachelor's degree in Vocal Performance. I have never, in my entire life, been so moved by a performance as I was tonight. That gawky 15-year-old I remember is now a poised young woman with an amazing instrument God placed right in her body. Sitting there, next to her former teacher and current teacher, taking my place among the many who have helped and influenced her over the years, was the most amazing feeling.
Though tonight's event was not religious in nature, I felt the spirit of God in that room. After the recital, when I waited my turn to tell her how proud I was, her face lit up as she embraced me, as sweet and unselfconscious as she ever was.
All the gripes, all of the complaints about being a teacher, I take them all back tonight. Tomorrow I may go back to complaining, but tonight, I'm so glad I chose this life.