Passion Park! We all want to live here. Be proud of your accomplishments!

Be Very Proud of Accomplishments

We all get intense feelings of pride when we, or our children who've we nurtured, excel at something they love.

Intense feelings matter. Great experiences and excelling occur with nurturing, effort and sense of ownership. Great experiences can kindle the sparks for newly discovered passions. Stringing passionate experience opportunity together by providing places for these activities, and soon we'll have a community of passionate people.

It takes a seed to move a mountain.

Enjoy the following account (and dialog) about a great experience with music posted to the internet from a fellow in Seattle. The story is posted so as to better illustrate and support the call for the creation of a new space, code name, Passion Park, an extension of the South Side Market House and South High School.

Date:    Tue, 2 Mar 1999 02:10:06 EST From:    Reginald Unterseher 
Subject: A Trip To Chicago
Chance, my 12-year-old, and I got back last night from our ACDA (American Choral Director's Association) National Honor Boychoir Chicago adventure. We had the BEST time! It was just incredible. We got there Wednesday afternoon and the boys had a rehearsal that night. The sound of 252 of the best boy singers in the whole country (ages ranged from 8-15) was almost indescribable. They were instantly all in tune, singing the right notes. The sound was so beautiful that all I could do was just stand there with my jaw dropping, almost not able to breathe. The most beautiful sound I have ever heard.
The boys really worked hard. I was there as chaperone with Chance and Mark, another Consort Columbia Children's Chorus boy--they were the only boys from the whole state of Washington. They were really glad that they had put in the work ahead of time, memorizing their 8 pieces of rather advanced literature. The vast majority of the boys had, and they were not pleased with the ones who hadn't. They rehearsed 3 hours the first night, six hours each on the next two days, went to a concert Thursday night, 3 hours on Saturday, and then the concert Saturday night. We had done a lot of preparation on how to deal with that much rehearsal time without wrecking their voices, and by concert time they felt good. We spent most non-rehearsal moments napping.
I mostly spent my time with the boys in their rehearsals, but also got to hear a concert by the King's Singers, the Vancouver Chamber Singers, and Phillip Brunelle's chorus in Orchestra Hall, several Russian choirs in another hall. Between the time on the plane and the boy's nap times, I even had time to read a book. I book that had nothing to do with music of any kind. Pretty much heaven, for me.
We also had a blast in the few hours we had to play around. The Sears Tower, Chicago pizza, Michigan Avenue, the Navy Pier, Grant Park, Lake Michigan--mostly on Saturday night after the concert and then all day Sunday. Chicago is such a great place to visit, one of my absolute favorite places.
They were the subject of a half page article/photo in our local paper while they were gone, which they were very excited about. Even a teaser photo on the front page.
The very best thing about the trip, though, was watching these boys. They would look at each other, say "We are in CHICAGO!" and high five each other. They had worked hard to prepare, spending many hours on their own as well as with me, and were so glad to be there. They behaved very professionally in rehearsals. They were part of something special, did their part very well, had really accomplished something, and they knew it. They will remember this their whole lives, and so will I.
Reg, back in WA


Have the article mounted and framed somehow and give it to your son as a gift, along with a card, of course, telling him how proud you are. (And you're obviously -- and justifiably -- nuts with pride over this guy and his friends.) He'll keep it forever!
>what was the criteria in picking these voices? >Doug > 
Every year, the American Choral Director's Association National Convention has several Honor Choirs, typically of about 250 members each. This year, it was a Boychoir, a High School Choir, and a Women's Choir. Directors who are ACDA members get application forms, typically about 10 months in advance of the convention.
The application consisted of a taped audition and a series of questions for the choir director about their skills and habits. For the tape, the boys had to sing a solo and then sing a series of arpeggios that demonstrated their range, voice quality, and how well they could sing in tune. Different directors have different criteria, but I only submitted boys who I felt had the complete package--voice, sight reading and other musicianship issues, experience, and behavior in concert and rehearsal. I had two other boys in my Children's Chorus that had the voice, but not the other skills, so I did not submit them.
They chose 250 out of the over 500 applicants. I suspect that it was a combination of things--not only the quality of audition and the strength of the recommendation (which is hard to gauge if you do not know the director!), but a desire to have many areas of the country represented. In this choir, boys came from 30 states. The country's major boychoir organizations were all well represented, but so were kids from smaller programs like mine.
Reg in WA

Lucky Us

I was involved in many events like this as a kid and it's true - they *will* remember it forever.

Input Welcomed

Other examples of Passion and Park Passions are welcome. Send your story along via email or in the comments below.

About the author 

Mark Rauterkus

Swim, SKWIM and Water Polo coach and publisher in Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Executive Director of SKWIM USA, a nonprofit advocate organization and webmaster to the International Swim Coaches Association. Head varsity and middle-school swim coach for The Ellis School. Former candidate for public office on multiple occasions.

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