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Greenfield's Ragtime Street Fair, 2015

Two years ago, Jon made the birthday resolution of playing in Greenfield Village's Ragtime Piano Cutting Contest. He played, and he took home the trophy (which was actually a handmade pitcher, and he didn't get to take it home because they made it for him and then sent it to him). It was a great, fun time, even in the heat of what was the hottest summer we'd had in years.

Then last year we missed the competition because we were out of town, but this year...this year Calvin participated in the eternally entertaining cutting contest. This was an amazing thing for so many reasons. Lately Calvin has been complaining of a sort of stage fright. He has mentioned being nervous or embarrassed about many things. I reminded him that to participate in the cutting contest he'd have to play in front of hundreds of people, but he was undeterred.

So he practiced his little butt off to prepare, and as the date got closer I got increasingly nervous that he would suddenly become nervous, but the shoe never dropped. Performance time came and not only did he handle it like a pro, he nailed his piece. NAILED it. We couldn't have been prouder, and he couldn't have been more pleased. The judges encouraged him to come back, and suggested challenging himself with harder pieces because, as they told him, he clearly gets it. With a few more years on him he's got the competition in the bag.

But I mentioned many ways in which this was an amazing event. Calvin's calm and poise in front of hundreds of strangers (at the age of nine) was an amazing thing. And the crowd's response was another wow moment. I think all those people watched this young kid walk up to the piano and expected a cute performance, and they were all utterly surprised by his actual performance. People who were just passing through stopped to watch,  others paused in their texting, etc. to watch him, and at the end the crowd, much larger than it was at the beginning, erupted in applause. I don't know if Calvin really heard it or not—I know I would have been too nervous to have registered my surroundings—but the awe and appreciation of the surprised crowd was the final amazing thing of the day. Well, that and the number of strangers who stopped us after, even hours after, later in the park, to tell us what a fantastic job he did (to which I always say, or at least think, "don't tell us, we had little to do with it, tell him!" but that's a subject for another time).


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