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Month: December 2011

aidan the guitar player

This has been a month of performance for Aidan. From theater to musicianship–he loves performing arts and doesn’t mind being in the spotlight too much either, as long as he’s on a stage that is. For the past six months or so, Aidan has been taking guitar lessons and has been having fun with it. I can’t say that he practices too much, but he likes noodlin’ around with it (as long as no one is making him do it), and he likes going to his lesson. It’s fun for him.

Each year, Tamara, his guitar teacher organizes an opportunity for all her students to get together to play a Christmas concert at local nursing home. It’s a great chance to get students of all levels and ages together in one place to bring their music to people who welcome it.

In the clip below, Aidan plays a little lead in to “Away in a Manger” before the whole ensemble begins playing. The concert was a lot of fun.

aidan’s big break

Aidan debuted in his first big stage production this past December 6, 2011 with the Stage Play Musical Theater Company. He played two roles–the Brave Combat Hero Soldier Prince and the Huntsman. Both were speaking parts and the latter included a full scene with a song. The show took place at the Lockport Township High School in an auditorium designed to hold 1500; while it wasn’t a packed house, there were at least 375 people there that night.

Aidan and his cast-mates prepared and rehearsed for 14 weeks leading up to the big show. A lot of work went into it–both through group rehearsals and many individual hours or running lines, memorizing song lyrics, practicing dance moves, and understanding the technical aspects of stage “blocking.” By show time, it paid off. Everyone did wonderfully, and Aidan pulled off his part without a hitch. You could kind of tell that he was a little nervous, but he knew his lines, he delivered them with conviction, and he performed his song with perfect timing. To see the look of personal satisfaction and pride come over his face after his main scene was absolutely priceless.

He danced; he sang; he acted. Aidan worked really hard to get to this show. For a kid who struggles a good deal with social anxiety, he was right in his element on that stage–and often seems comfortable in the performer’s spotlight. Chris and I are so proud of him, and we love him so much.

chicagoland earth scouts go online

Recently I have taken on the new responsibility of assisting my beautiful wife with a project dear to her heart. She has been a facilitator for a youth group called Earth Scouts for the past four years now; recently her co-facilitator has stepped down, allowing me the opportunity to step up, and I am very excited to do so. Earth Scouts encourages boys and girls ages 3 to 103 years to become responsible global citizens empowered with the ability to make a difference in their local communities and throughout the world. Through education, activities, and service, our scouts promote The Earth Charter vision of a caring, sustainable and peaceful world.

We’ve got a very exciting year ahead of us. We’ll be focusing on the principle of participatory democracy, which is one of five Earth Scout principles. We’re just in the early stages of planning as a group, but we’ve already begun developing our group cooperation skills and the very challenging skill of consensus decision making (which is not easy, by any means, but well worth the effort).

Also, this year, we’ve just launched the new web site for our Earth Scouts group. This provides both an outward web presence for the group, but also a secure extranet for members to communicate and disseminate important information with one another. We believe that this can work well to further improve our effectiveness as a group.

By our next meeting, we’re hoping to decide as a group where we will be concentrating our efforts for the next six months or so. The idea is to work toward positive social change in an area of concern that we all share as a group. While doing this, we’ll be developing skills in the following six areas:

  1. Consensus Building—working together to make decisions where there are no losers and everyone’s voice is heard and respected in the decision making process.
  2. Cooperation—working together effectively to achieve a shared goal.
  3. Courage and Leadership—doing what you believe is right even when you are nervous or scared and helping others do that too.
  4. Power of Voice and Action—using our words and actions to effect change in the world.
  5. Civic Engagement—participating fully as an active citizen within our communities and our society.
  6. Advocacy—working publicly and effectively in support of yourself, important causes, and the rights of others.

I’m really excited to be a bigger part of all this. It’s so very cool and encouraging to see young people getting jazzed about getting really involved in their communities and working on issues that matter most to them–and to others in our world.

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