It was mostly Charlie and one other boy from his class who performed. Charlie went first and he stood straight and serious, eyes sliding to the left. With his white-banded fedora, he indeed looked like a long tall drink of water, ready to be in a production of Guys and Dolls. And here he is:
I think it took Charlie some time to warm up and take in the fact that he was standing in front of a cafeteria of students, teachers, administrators, therapists, and parents (and me kneeling in front of him now with a FlipVideo camera and now with my iPhone). I can tell from the way he was moving his mouth that he was singing the words, most clearly with the little pause, prompt and cue of 'New' before he said 'York.'
I hadn't known Charlie'd be singing that song. It has a particular resonance me, in part because---after I got into college at a large East Coast university---my parents planned that we'd visit 'back East' for the first time and my dad noted that two of the things he most wanted to do were: (1) 'walk the streets of New York'; (2) drive on the New Jersey Turnpike. The latter was probably a little more, um, gritty than it sounded like to us Bay Area-ers (this was before the days of EZPass). My dad has had the chance to see quite a bit of New York thanks to the long walks all over Manhattan and some of Brooklyn that Jim led us on, in the days when Charlie could better handle the sensory onslaught and rush of the city.
And that latter reason's why I had an extra lump in my throat (gawd, I am a sentimental mom-type!) on beholding and hearing Charlie singing at the concert. After the concert, his teacher asked me if I'd like for him just to leave with me, or to have him go back to his classroom. At first I thought I'd just have him come to the white car. Then his teacher noted he could work on some things and it occurred to me that this might help Charlie process the excitement and extra-ordinariness of the concert.
It would also help me to process how I was feeling.
Charlie may well have had some pre-performance jitters: he woke around 5.30 and he and I went on an early morning constitutional. Too, after coming home, eating his 'second lunch' and using the computer, Charlie settled in for a late afternoon nap.
We did another long walk after he was up. At one point, Charlie did a graceful sprint for almost a quarter of a mile.
But we do trip that light fantastic!