Extraordinary Stories

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

The "Razz Ma Tazz For The Photographer" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Standing on a 6 foot stepladder on the Landis Run Intermediate School (LRIS) stage preparing to take a photograph of the 6th grade choir to include in the school's Yearbook.  Landis Run, located in the Manheim Township School District in Lancaster County, PA, opened five years ago and includes grades 5 and 6.  It opened to relieve overcrowding in the elementary schools in the district.  At the time the Middle School, which included grades 6, 7 and 8, was also overcrowded.  Was a great move and seems to very successful.  At the time, I was in charge of creating the Middle School yearbook and when the new LRIS opened, I was asked by the new Principal if I would like to add the LRIS yearbook to my list of things to do.  So, I now do both the Middle School and the LRIS yearbook.  
Peggy directing her choir.  I'm sorry I didn't include the
children's faces, but I would need their parent's permission
to place them on the Internet.
That requires I take photos of all activities and groups from both schools.  The 6th grade choir has 161 very energetic members this year and could have been a nightmare had it not been for the music teacher.  Peggy has been at the school since it opened and understands the children who are in her classes.  She treats them as children and recognizes that with the onset of puberty they are beginning to enter adulthood and at times can be a handful.  Well, as I stood on the ladder, looking over the four rows of kids of different nationalities, cultures, ethnicities and sizes, they all looked the same.  They were children!  And, they were all alive and full of themselves.  Just having a good time.  And then Peggy sang a few notes.  And then they returned the same notes in unison.  And then they did it over and over again.  I stood on the ladder towering above everyone and enjoyed myself as some looked at me and smiled and some even gave me the piece sign which I naturally had to give back to them.  Instantly this group of students became respectful of their teacher.  Well, wasn't long before I was introduced as the person who was going to take their photo for the yearbook which I assume they might have guessed since I happened to have a camera and flash in my hand.  And then ... something different and wonderful happened.  They began to sing for me.  I stood there and was amazed as they sang the second verse of "Big Bad Santa" and then added some dance and jazz ma tazz to go with the music.  Don't know if they were referring to be with the song, but in no time they were listening to my commands as I took photos of the sopranos, altos, and the young men of the choir.  Peggy is a magician and knew exactly what to do to make my job easier.  The students cooperated fully and we all had a good time.   And then I was asked to stay and take photos as they sang a song or two.  As I departed the stage with my ladder then all called out to me, "Goodbye Mr. Woods."  I am old enough to be their grandfather, but they made me feel a part of their choir today.  What a great bunch of kids and what a great teacher they have.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary day.    

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