My Alexander Technique teacher said those words to me yesterday, mid-lesson. The first thing I thought was of the sweet kindergarten boy who volunteered to be the bunny in Union Avenue Opera’s educational performance of Little Red Riding Hood last Friday. He added a bounce to the role that I’ve never seen before, replete with upward commitment–a nearly tangible determination to be the best bunny he could be. While continuing through the forest in my red cape, I inwardly marveled at that youthful, joyous expression of springiness. Focus on the up.
My high school voice students were more nervous than bouncy last Thursday night when they gathered at my house with friend and colleague Elizabeth Schleicher’s students. It was a non-recital. A chance to sing in front of peers with an accompanist and no parents. A chance to see how other people are doing with their voice and body exploration. A chance to see how it feels to share music simply for the sake of sharing. A chance express. Their “up” challenge involved a little more focus, more poise, and more confidence. Who couldn’t use an extra serving of that?
I witnessed yet another kind of “up” at the Girls on the Run 5K a few days ago. I have been involved with the organization on and off during the last several years, and was invited to the microphone this year.
Photos by Tyson Kanoya
As I sang the National Anthem, I stared out at the crowd from a perfectly elevated perch. Take the committed bounce of my little bunny, stir in the nerves of my high schoolers, add 10 weeks of preparation, some rain, and a Sunday morning, multiply by 4,400 runners, and you get a rocket of enthusiasm. Neither gravity nor precipitation was going to bring that crowd down.
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan said a few words.
A six-time marathoner herself, she related to the focus, determination and commitment necessary to run any distance. It’s the the same kind of focus, determination and commitment that the runners will take with them as they venture through life, she suggested. It will lead them and the world around them to exceptional places. They are on their way up. Way to focus.
Lori Chalupny, member of the 2008 gold medal winning US soccer team took Mrs. Carnahan’s message and hit it home. Work hard, and sometimes your sky-high dreams come true. They did, after all, for her.