Home > Composition Book > [December, 1989] Glee and Paranoia

[December, 1989] Glee and Paranoia


Dear Journal,

Our glee club will have our concert soon.

Also, I feel very different around Mitch. As if I have to watch my every move. I feel uncomfortable but maybe I’m just feeling the tension before a date. Oh well, I hope the feeling goes away.

la la la la

One of my favorite things about elementary school was singing in the glee club. Mrs. Angelo was no ordinary music teacher. She had permed hair teased into a giant halo around her head and three-inch nails that miraculously did not impede her ability to accompany us on the piano. She was also inventive when determining the musical programs. One concert included a Neil Diamond medley, and to this day I have a soft spot for that crooner, from his immigration anthem “America” to his east coast/west coast struggle in “I Am I Said.”

Mrs. Angelo had us put on concerts for our entire school just for entertainment’s sake, like the showcase of Broadway tunes we did (I sang “Memory” from Cats solo). For the holiday concert, she even had an original Hanukkah song that she composed, “How Many Nights” (so catchy that I can still hum the chorus, decades later). She devised elaborate harmonies for us and made us rehearse often, but shared music with such enthusiasm and love, we didn’t mind.

Mitch was in glee club, too, so we were frequently in the same room together, though we didn’t speak. I guess we were saving up actual socializing for our date, and besides, we’d be scrutinized by our classmates if we talked to each other in front of them. As for the pre-date jitters, I think there was a part of me that worried Mike might find the reason to call off the date before it happened. To make sure that didn’t happen, I tried to keep my distance until then, and focused on singing instead.

  1. Liz
    November 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    That’s such an awesome coincidence!
    I was in my elementary school chorus too- we ALSO did a Broadway medley, entitled, “KIDS ON BROADWAY!” although it had kind of a loose definition of “kids” (e.g., included songs from West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof). And our chorus teacher, Mr. Zwirn (who now has a Facebook fanclub) ALSO made up his own Hanukkah song, and I still remember most of it. At the time, we had lots of Jewish teachers in our school, but no Jewish kids (the closest thing was a few half-Jews like me). I think it’s pretty cool that he got the whole group singing it, in between all the Christmas songs (complete with a verse in Hebrew). During the holidays, we would get to perform at various places around the city, like the local bank, the Javits Center, Macy’s, and a few of the fancy hotels (those were the best for snacks!). We also got to be in the Macy’s parade one year, as part of a huge national group called America Sings…unfortunately it was 1989, the year it snowed on Thanksgiving, and in fact one of the worst days of my life. 😉
    I am going to stop myself before I launch any further into chorus stories you may not want to hear (or at least not monopolize your blogspace!) but if you are curious to see how glamorous we were, click on this. 😉

    • damiella
      November 28, 2009 at 11:00 pm

      Those photos are awesome! We had a red, white, and blue color scheme to our performance outfits, too.

      I think there should be a Music Teachers’ Hanukkah Songs compilation album. If our two teachers wrote their own tunes, surely there are others out there.

      • Liz
        November 30, 2009 at 6:47 pm

        That would be sweet.
        I actually have a CD of indie Hanukkah songs- it was compiled by a teenage DJ in the 90s who grew up to work for New York Noise (music show on one of the local channels, maybe NYCTV or something?).
        I was just looking for a link and apparently it’s now available on Amazon!
        This was not the case a few years ago when mine went missing, and I wrote to Shirley herself to plead for another copy. 🙂

  2. Liz
    November 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    P.S. Our school had a dance festival every June, and in first grade, my class danced to Neil Diamond’s “America!” We each wore a costume representing our ancestry. Mine was technically undergarments (from my Sicilian great-grandma), at least in part, but what can you do? 😉 I still love that song!

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