Trust Me

    I know it is difficult to trust anyone these days.  The era of sending your kids outside to play all day unsupervised has pretty much come to an end.  Think of how much fun we had playing “Wolves and Geese”, “Red Light, Green Light”, “Statue Maker”, “Red Rover” and all the others.   We have become overly protective of our children and I am guilty of wanting the same protection for my own children.   According to the kids, A couple of you are having concerns about the lyrics of “Still Alive.”   I want you to consider the following:

    Were you apprehensive about sending the kids on the trip to Eau Claire?  In retrospect do you feel you had anything to worry about?  Trust me.  When it comes to knowing what is best for the choir I really do know what I am doing.   I care about the kids and will not let them be psycologically damaged by the songs that we sing.   There is a purpose for each song we perform and each new challenge leads to a stronger organization.   Performing this piece will cause our choir to be noticed even more than the Sollberger pieces.  Invitations to perform at other events and to collaborate with other choirs, requests to perform with well known artists and other noteworthy recognition for the choir could come out of this.   Trust me.  

      We live in a modern world and “Still Alive” has a modern text.   The kids will be singing “Sir Eglamore” as part of Caiman Chorus.  A line in that song says “Out came a dragon from her den, Fa la lanky down dilly, that killed God knows how many men.”  The computer in the Portal Game is just a modern day dragon.  A mythical enemy of great power that tries to destroy the noble knight.   It even looks like one in the final stage of the game.  The text will not cause any damage to our children and the pride they will feel for the accolades they will receive will be entirely edifying.   Do you think our children were dealt an injury when we sang “when the bough breaks, the cradle will fall, and down will come baby bow cradle and all”?  This will bring only good to them. Trust me.  

You might want to see the earlier post “Still Alive” and “Should Your Kids Play Portal?” There is also a link on the right to some captured video of what the gameplay is all about.   Look under “Our Choir” and click on “Portal Video”.  

If you have a feeling one way or another, please open a dialogue by posting a comment here.  If you would rather speak to me privately, please email me. jon.senzig@racine.k12.wi.us.  If you intend on pulling your child from the choir please do so right away as every position on the risers will be choreographed for the light show I am planning.

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21 Responses to Trust Me

  1. Kelly Cantu says:

    On that note I would also like to add that you put extreme thought into your work, and it shows. I was privileged to go along with the children on the tour to Eau Claire and witnessed that you care about this choir deeply and wouldn’t ever risk their safety in any way. I trust that you picked this song for a reason and I know that you are only looking out for the best possible outcome in our children’s outstanding musical talent. So if you are questioning yourself due to a lack of support or concern, don’t. You have proven to be an excellent teacher, choir director and to be a positive influence of our children’s musical development.
    Thank You!

  2. Kim Hays says:

    I would like to second Kelly’s comments on your outstanding job with the choir. As for the song choice we have listened to it so much on line I now know the words! We can’t wait to see the kid’s preform not only this choice but whatever else you decide.
    Thank you for your time and dedication!

  3. Anne Stillman says:

    I’ll third that! You did an amazing job with the kids in Eau Claire. They sounded wonderful and had an experience that not many elementary school kids have. Thank you for that.
    My kids came home very excited about singing a new, more contemporary song and played it for me on the internet right away. We do trust that you are choosing music that’s appropriate for them and appreciate the excitement and passion for singing that you have been able to generate. Thanks for all your hard work.

  4. Joe says:

    Just wanted to say what a wonderful job you’ve done with this performance. I never really enjoyed playing in band while at school in Oshkosh since a majority of the music didn’t really grab me. Looking back, I’m sure we played a lot of wonderful music, but I don’t remember anything that I was really excited to be playing. It seems that you’ve done fantastic work getting these kids excited to participate in your program and I feel I too would have been more engaged if presented with similar material. Bravo and keep up the great work!

  5. Bill G. says:

    “Performing this piece will cause our choir to be noticed even more than the Sollberger pieces. Invitations to perform at other events and to collaborate with other choirs, requests to perform with well known artists and other noteworthy recognition for the choir could come out of this. Trust me.”

    Indeed, it will. It has already started out on it’s journey to going viral.

  6. Ashton says:

    Video of the choir has been featured on kotaku, propably best website about video games.

    http://kotaku.com/5504235/a-childrens-choir-sings-portals-closing-song-still-alive

    grat job 🙂

  7. Jeni says:

    I’m a huge choir enthusiast, and I never would have found the choir’s beautiful work if not for this piece. I can’t thank you enough for it! It’s being passed around at work, and we can’t glee enough at it. We work at a very major gaming company.

    Spectacular work.

  8. dhpeel says:

    THAT. WAS. EPIC!!!!

  9. Damon says:

    I saw the video on YouTube…

    Wow.

    You, sir, did an outstanding job.

  10. sarah tyyska says:

    Hello, i do not have a child in your choir but i saw a video of the kids doing still alive. i was in choir all during school (i graduated horlick in 2007) and i will say we never put on a preformance as interesting as that one. I would like to say that the song choice is amazing not only do i play portal (a videogame that is all about puzzles and stratagy) but i do have a toddler who i’d love to be in a childrens choir that sang this song. If we listen to “normal” radio you’d hear far worse and in choir in middle and high school we sang songs far worse. so bravo on amazing song choice and coreography

  11. Tim Harris says:

    Mr. Senzig,

    I ran across a YouTube video of your choir on a well known blog that covers video games.

    (http://kotaku.com/5504235/a-childrens-choir-sings-portals-closing-song-still-alive)

    Firstly, I’d like to say the kids did an excellent job. The costumes and lights were outstanding. I have a smile on my face.

    Secondly, I’d like to commend you for not only engaging the kids with media they’re familiar with, but also for making it relevant to parents. I too fall into the trap of over-protection when it comes to my kids.

    I think back to the racist, violent, propogandist cartoons I grew up with as a kid, or to the really DARK Disney movies (Sleeping Beauty, The Rescuers), or to basically anything written by the Brothers Grimm, and I realize that it’s not the lyrics or the movies, or the words that matter shape us so much as it is parents, and teachers being actively involved in our lives that make us who we are.

    It’s nice to see you reminding all of us that we, as parents, can use the dragons of today to teach the valuable skills and lessons our children will need tomorrow – and with a catchy tune at that 🙂

    Congratulations on a job well done.

    Tim Harris
    Redmond, WA

  12. joinchoir says:

    I hear you on the Disney stuff. Did you see The Black Cauldron when you were a kid?

  13. Joel says:

    You sir, are awesome. I would’ve liked choir a lot better as a kid had I had you as a director. Keep it up!

  14. Tim Harris says:

    I didn’t see the Black Cauldron, but now that I’ve read the IMDB on it, I think I’ll check it out.

    I meant to ask in my original post whether there was cake after the perfomance. 🙂

    Congratulations again. It looks like your server is feeling the pain of all the folks trying to read about what you’ve accomplished here.

    Tim

  15. joinchoir says:

    No cake, but I did promise them some. lol Actually, all of the posts about the cake has shamed me into realizing I’ld better get the little buggers some cake after the next performance.

  16. Jake says:

    This is so amazing! I appreciate your stance and explanation.

    It is very unfortunate that parents will roll over each other to ‘protect’ their children from harmful influence whilst at the same time have no such qualms when letting them watch daytime television.

    When using daytime TV as a substitute nanny, more harm is done than by you teaching them lyrics deemed inappropriate by the misinformed- and over-protecting.

    I, for one, applaud your endeavours.

    P.S. The Cake Is A Lie!

  17. joinchoir says:

    Don’t overblow the dissention of my students’ parents. Those that asked were just concerned as any parent should be. There was never any mass exodus or even a negative post! Gifford is an incredible school.

  18. Jake says:

    By no means I meant to imply that the parents involved with your choir display the aforementioned behaviour. I merely commented on the general state of over-protecting parents.

    And, yes, you do owe them cake 😉

  19. Paula says:

    Just wonderful! In a strange convergence, my 14-year-old son just finished playing Portal for the first time. We are both enamored with the game’s dark humor, and, as longtime Jonathan Coulton fans, the song. He attends an arts-focused middle school, and it gave us much joy to see this performance. Kudos to you for giving your choir kids this opportunity to perform something besides “safe,” dull standards — we need more teachers like you! Hope the video’s popularity brings many good things to you, your kids, and your program.

  20. Pingback: » Kid’s Choir sings Portal’s Still Alive | Blog | Wirebot

  21. Regina says:

    After watching your choir perform this song many many times I have to applaud you sir. The kids looked thrilled to have performed that song, the enthusasium in their voices made me smile, and your soloist was amazingly cute.

    As a mother of three I can honestly say I see where parents would have been concerned about the words at first . But after watching it performed I would have applauded such a show. In fact I wish the school that my kids go too would do something so showy and fun with our elemantary choir, rather then remakes of old songs that have been beaten into the ground over and over again. Not only would it keep the kids intrested in continueing their love of music as they got older, but it would keep the parents intrested enough to STAY at the concerts and watch.

    And I’m glad you and those kids are getting regonized for all the hard work you had to have put into this. I hope you did give them that cake for this!

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