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Gillian isn't sick, she's a dancer...

posted Oct 14, 2011, 8:48 AM by Ned Smith   [ updated Oct 22, 2013, 6:28 PM by Coventry Music Boosters ]

Greetings all!  Here we are two weeks out from a World Record Attempt, the following week the Charter Oak Music Festival, the following week some students will be auditioning for the CMEA Eastern Region Music Festival.  And then before you know it, the holidays are upon us and the Winter Concert will be here.  So will end a very active first semester here with the CHS Band.  A huge thank you the Boosters, volunteers, and students who have dedicated hours of work to assist the band in any way, shape, or form.

Needless to say, simply staying active is not why we do what we do.  These students stay active because they believe in the importance of what we do as students of music and they find a place to belong with other musicians.  They believe in the importance of beauty and expression, some of them are just drawn towards melody and rhythm, and from time to time they have thoughts uniquely different than their peers.  The conversation of "what we do" is ongoing with our students.   And believe me, the conversation of why we do it is even more challenging sometimes.  This week, as I found myself getting somewhat frazzled with the immense workload set before us; I was reminded of a story.  Sir Ken Robinson, a very eloquent speaker who you can find on, explains below to some degree what we must recognize in our student musicians.   This story certainly keeps me focused on the "Why" of music for our students.  And it reminds me always, that even if we can't always explain or quantify the significance, it is nonetheless deeply valuable within these students of Coventry High School.  Have a great weekend!


He begins the story by explaining that Gillian is an 8 year old student struggling in school:

"We think Gillian has a learning disorder." She couldn't concentrate, she was fidgeting. 

Anyway, she went to see this specialist. So she was there with her mother, and she was led and sat on a chair at the end, and she sat on her hands for 20 minutes while this man talked to her mother about all the problems Gillian was having at school. In the end, the doctor went and sat next to Gillian and said, "Gillian, I've listened to all these things that your mother's told me, and I need to speak to her privately." He said, "Wait here, we'll be back, we won't be very long." and they went and left her. But as they went out the room, he turned on the radio that was sitting on his desk. And when they got out the room, he said to her mother, "Just stand and watch her." And the minute they left the room, she said, she was on her feet, moving to the music. And they watched for a few minutes and he turned to her mother and said, "Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn't sick, she's a dancer. Take her to a dance school."

She did. I can't tell you how wonderful it was. "We walked in this room and it was full of people like me," [said Gillian]. People who couldn't sit still. People who had to move to think. Who had to move to think. They did ballet, they did tap, they did jazz, they did modern, they did contemporary. She was eventually auditioned for the Royal Ballet School, she became a soloist, she had a wonderful career at the Royal Ballet. She eventually graduated from the Royal Ballet School and founded her own company -- the Gillian Lynne Dance Company -- met Andrew Lloyd Weber. She's been responsible for some of the most successful musical theater productions in history, she's given pleasure to millions, and she's a multi-millionaire. Somebody else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down.