Nerves are rampant. The jitters are setting in. Practices are underway, but only to help calm the students themselves. A little tweek here and there, a loose thread snipped off, but otherwise, there is nothing more we can do. The competition begins in a couple of hours, and it’s now all up to the students.
Our group (parents, teachers, students) are sitting in our normal spot at the regionals. We also seem to get the area on the left of the auditorium, right at the front. As has been the norm since I have been involved with these competitions, I sit out front in the audience, and let Janice do her thing offstage. Simon (Janice’s husband) records the whole show. My reasons for staying out of the way are ‘manyfold’.
The kids will be nervous enough. They don’t need too many people talking to them. Also, even though this is an English competition, encouragement and words of support need to be in their native tongue – Chinese. I can also observe all the other competitors performances, so I can see how the eventual winners performed. I can then use this insight in future competitions.
This year, besides just watching, I took a picture of each of the performers. I was also taking notes on my laptop of my impression of each performance. The competition always begins with the Kindergarten level, and works it’s way up to the seniors.
After watching the Kindergarteners, my decision as a judge would have to go to Elva. She was great. The other four little kids were cute, and did okay, but Elva really did shine!
Nadia’s level next. Watching her range of entry to finish, was mesmerizing. Right from the start, when she was introduced and the song came on, and she danced out to center stage, the audience was clapping along and having a great time! As with any performance, you have to capture the audience right from the start! You do that, and you’ve got it nailed. Honestly, there were a couple of other students who did quite well. When there’s 15 or 16 competitors, it goes without saying, that there are going to be other GOOD competitors.
Jonas’s level was up next. Unfortunately, Marcus needed a bit of practice before going up in the next level, so I was unable to watch most of the Level II performances. I will watch it later, as Simon had video’d the complete competition. So, I cannot make any properly informed judgement as to his performance, or be able to compare it to the others.
In Marcus’s level, he was the final performer of 18 competitors. To see him come on stage, was a surprise for me! I didn’t see how his final look turned out, until he appeared on stage! Again, this was one of those WOW moments! I was surprised, shocked, and taken in by the whole experience! He did an amazing job. I’d like to say that he was trying to please Janice and I. And that, he did! He pulled it together, and kept the audience’s attention throughout his performance. After his closing, I looked over at the judges, and saw smiles and nods of agreement. I think he got this one!
May was up next in her category. She was one of six competitors. The other five competitors were boys. Once May began her story, I knew she had it. She made the part believable. She did more in that few minutes on stage, than I could have hoped for. Watching her, I honestly believed, that she was regaling a story about HERSELF, which is what I wanted her to do all through practices. Then, when the other five had their turns, I knew without hesitation, she had nailed it! The boys just couldn’t hold a candle to her.
After a break, the awards were handed out. All I was listening for was the word “NANMEN” in the announcers voice. Since I can not understand Chinese fully, just hearing our school mentioned, was enough for me to be happy, excited, and oh so proud of our kids. It wasn’t until the end of the day, that I realized just how well we had done!
Elva – FIRST PLACE, invite to Taipei
Nadia – FIRST PLACE, invite to Taipei
Marcus – FIRST PLACE, invite to Taipei
May – FIRST PLACE, invite to Taipei
Unfortunately, Jonas did not place at all. He was devastated. The only performance I wasn’t able to watch, and he was the one who didn’t win anything. I feel so bad for him, but, I think over the next couple of days, he will come around, and support his sister (Elva). Next year Jonas! Let your sister have the year to be in the spotlight. You had last year! Don’t be sad. You did your best, but there are a lot of good kids at your level. It is probably the most difficult level to compete at. Be supportive of Elva, and next, you and her can compete and hopefully, both share the spotlight.
So, we at Giraffe-Nanmen have our work cut out for us! We took home 4 of the 10 invites to the nationals. We’ve got 4 FIRST PLACE winners! This is going to be even harder on the teachers. Now that we’ve got all these top places, that means next year we will have to be even better!
Giraffe-Nanmen is the school to beat! We took home 4 invites. Only one other school got multiple invites, and they only received 2.
Take a break guys – but not too long! I think Janice and I need a bit of relax time, and you kids need it as well. Just remember though, we’ve only got about 5 weeks to get things cleaned up. Yes, you each got FIRST PLACE in the Regionals, but remember, there are other regions as well, and those students will be FIRST PLACE winners in their regions who you will be competing with!
May, Marcus, Jonas, Nadia, and Elva, I can’t say it enough. I am so proud of each of you. You all worked hard, and late into the nights. You proved yourselves as great storytellers. Let’s take home FIRST PLACE from Taipei as well!
I’d also like to send out kudos to their parents. I know for them, it was a trying time as well. The late nights, the multiple practice times, set and costume designing and creating… Moms and Dads, you should all be proud of each of your children. No matter what happens in August in Taipei, your kids are still TOPS with me!
That’s it, that’s all… for now!