Monday, December 10, 2007

The Last Holiday Concert - Chapter 9 - 13

Chapter 9:"Detention"

While serving his detention in the main office, Hart runs into Mr. Meinert who seems unusually cheerful. They talk and agree that Hart should announce to the class the next day that he can't handle the job of chorus director and that Mr. Meinert should be in charge again. Later on, Hart decides he doesn't like what he's agreed to - he feels tricked. And he decides that he's not going to follow through with it...

Chapter 10: "Brilliance"

At the beginning of chorus the next day, Hart stands up in front of his class and tells them they shouldn't have any more free periods because they still have to stand up in front of the school and their families at the holiday concert and they need to prepare something. Then he turns to Mr. Meinert and says, "So what I want to know is - if the chorus's part of the concert went on for more than thirty minutes, will we get in trouble? 'Cause I've got tons of great ideas about cool stuff we could do, but I don't know how it can all fit into just half and hour." (p.73) Mr. Meinert is furious but the kids all think it's a great idea and start getting excited about all the different things they could do during the concert.

Chapter 11: "Feelings"

Sitting in detention that afternoon, Hart starts to feel a little bad about going back on his word with Mr. Meinert. He realizes that he might have hurt his feelings. When Mr. Meinert comes into the office to get his mail, Hart asks him if he'd be willing to help with the music for the concert. Mr. Meinert is taken back at first but agrees to help Hart out.

Chapter 12: "As Viewed From Above"

The principal, Mr. Richards, starts to get a lot of phone calls from concerned parents of kids in the sixth grade chorus. He decides to investigate what's going on and drops by the chorus unannounced. From outside, he can see that it's loud and unorganized in the room, but the kids all seem to working together. He resolves to keep an eye on things, but not to interfere because "education is all about experimentation." (p. 88)

Chapter 13: "Smooth Sailing" (or "The Chorus According to Hart" -p. 89)

All of the chorus kids are psyched about the upcoming concert and all the fun things they will be doing. The kids have tons of ideas including songs to sing, dance routines, gymnastics, card tricks, rearranging the auditorium and dressing up in costumes. They also come up with a name for the concert, "Winterhope." Hart encourages them all and enjoys his role as leader. Mr. Meinert also starts to enjoy himself and the opportunity he has been given to sit back and watch and listen. "These were new waters for him, too, and Mr. Meinert was paying attention. He was learning. And he felt like he was seeing real kids for the first time since he'd become a music teacher." (p.95) He also remembers his promise to Hart, to be there for him when he's needed. And he feels sure that he'll be needed soon enough.

How did you feel when Hart went back on his word with Mr. Meinert? Was he really "tricked" into giving back the holiday concert? Was it right to just forget what they talked about and do his own thing?

Do you think that Hart's approach to the concert is a good one? Is he setting himself up for failure by agreeing to every idea that comes up?

How would you get your classmates excited about the holiday concert?

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