A joyful noise . . . the last Reed’s Run
I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me. Psalm 13:6 (NIV)
About this time last year, the first graders at Lakeview were learning to sing the National Anthem. I don’t recall, but it might have had to do with curriculum on President’s Day. One day, Clo came home and told us she could sing it. All of us big people were more than skeptical. Yet we entertained the possibility and listened. She could do it. Some of the words were wrong, but the tune was spot on.
As the months and weeks moved along in the countdown to the final run, we started to check off the preparations completed. One box left open was the singing of the National Anthem for the opening ceremonies. As we were preparing for the first team meeting, that conversation came up. In the past, we have had friends including one of Reed’s best friends sing our country’s song. We were considering asking a former classmate who has stayed in contact with our family. When somewhat like the mouse that roared, our little Clo chimed in. “I thought I was going to sing the National Anthem!”
You could have heard a pin drop. Our thoughts: there would likely be a large crowd. Would nerves get the best of her? That is a hard song to sing. Would she be able to do it well? What about her hearing impairment? What if she isn’t hearing well again in September? But quickly, we all realized that the hang-ups were ours, not hers, and since the run is about her big brother, it would probably be a forgiving audience.
For those that don’t know the background story, our littlest girl was born deaf. She went an entire year of life before she heard a sound. Thankfully, she has mechanical deafness caused by Eustachian tube defect. She started having surgeries at the age of one to restore/correct her hearing loss. To be able to sing is one thing. To have excellent pitch is entirely another.
To ensure success, we enlisted the help of our neighbor (who Clo adores AND who happens to be a vocal music teacher). From there, we just let her sing and sing and sing. My ears will never get tired of it, because I remember the days of walking into her room in the morning. She sat in her crib and didn’t have any idea I was there. I remember the days of holding her and having her little hand on my throat because she somehow realized that there was a connection to my mouth moving and the vibrations she felt. I remember her not making sounds; so if she wanted to sing, we were going to let her.
She practiced. She sang, and she sang some more. Finally, came the big day! If she was nervous, she never let it show. With a microphone held steady by me, she belted out the National Anthem as if her voice was strengthened by choirs of angels. She nailed it. It was so moving that many had tears in their eyes as a little 7-year-old girl sang to honor her country at an event to remember her biggest brother.
When she sang, it was more than a joyful noise . . . it was a healing balm to my soul.
Note: Unfortunately, her performance was not recorded in its entirety at Reed’s Run. We do have her performance from Our Journey of Hope night (the annual remembrance of the anniversary) at our school.