Transcript of Ken’s remarks:
During our Spring Concert every year, we take a moment to make some announcements and presentations. Since we are all digital this time around, I have asked to make these announcements digitally.
I also start by taking a moment to express my deep appreciations to our dear BBC Office Staff; our Executive Director, MANDY PETERSON, Our Administrative Manager, NANCY KIMBERLY and our Operations Manager, TRICIA SIMPSON. They are fantastic workers and we are so blessed to have them on our team!
Please let me also take a moment to express my appreciation to our amazing Music Staff. Where would we be without our amazing Music Associate and Collaborative Pianist, SUSAN! Goodness! I cannot even imagine…
We are also blessed to have David Mandt as our Senior Music Assistant as well as
Jeff Caulk, Erin Evans, Garrett Lenzie, Christopher Josof, Michael Megginson and Rebecca Rogers as Music Assistants in our various satellites. We have a wonderful music staff and we could NOT do this work without them.
Now. We have a fantastic group of graduates this evening. They are official “alumni of the BBC!” This is not a small feat. It takes a lot of personal strength and courage to sing in a choir as musically capable as this. And not just on the part of the boys, but on their parents as well. Fortunately, these fellas do NOT drive themselves to rehearsals…yet. We are very proud of our 8th Grade Senior Choristers! They are fine singers and outstanding young men.
We have 13 boys who are graduating 8th grade this year. They have completed the required semesters to promote from Senior Choristers to Graduate Choristers next season. I am so very proud of them. We also have 7 boys who are graduating 12th grade this year; some of them have been singing with the Birmingham Boys Choir for 8, 9 or 10 years! Takes my breath away! They are beloved alumni of the BBC. They are poised to go off to college next year; starting the next phase of their young and tender lives. Goodness…
One thing that all these boys have in common is that in order to get into this choir, they had to go thru an “audition.”. So, fellas; I would ask you to think back to your audition for the Birmingham Boys Choir. It probably went something like this…
A boy and his parent usually come to the BBC Office. Introductions are made and I will ask the boy how old he is today. They can usually answer this question given enough time. Then I will say to him something along this line, “Oh, you are 8 years old today? That’s great. Did you know that when you are 8 years old you get to make 8 out of every 20 decisions in your life?”
I always stop and wait for a response here…it is very entertaining. You get everything from blank stare to crafty realization. Then the conversation continues; “Yes, and when you are 12 you are making 12 out of 20 decisions, and when you’re 15 you are making 15 out of every 20….and when you are 20!!..” Usually, they can complete this one. Again, it is usually very enlightening to watch them (and their parent) process this!
The next sentence is crucial: “So, this is why your parents and the teachers who love you want to help you practice making thoughtful, careful decisions. Because eventually, you will be making them all. Sound familiar, Boys?
Then the audition continues from there and we get to enjoy singing together.
In a sense, fellas, this is a foundational statement in the Birmingham Boys Choir. Of all the things that we teach, it is imperative that you learn the importance of making thoughtful, careful, intelligent decisions. Often the decisions that you make, whether they seem large or small at the time, will dictate the trajectory of your entire life. This is why we spend so much time and effort referring to and exploring the BBC Life Lessons.
Take for example Life Lesson #6; “Absolutes, like Character (and right angles) DO Matter, Absolutely”. When you and your parents are growing thru these elementary, middle school and high school years, THEY have certain “Absolutes” that they have the authority to require of you. They get this amazing and terrifying privilege/responsibility because they are The Parent.
But being “the Parent” is a metamorphic role; it will change as the subject of the parenting (that’s you) changes and grows and matures. And, sometime around your 20th year, YOU are making all your decisions; accepting or rejecting your own absolutes. That can be an exhilarating process. It should also be more than a little bit terrifying because the “absolutes” that you establish will dictate how you will make the decisions of your life for the REST of your LIFE!
This raises an important question, fellas? Who will have the authority to establish the “Absolutes” that will guide your life? Will it be you? Are you perfect? Will it be your parents, your professors? Are they perfect? Will it be your society or news media or political party? Are they without flaw? Will it be Mr. Ken? Please say no! Even though I do love you much, I am a sinner and who has made mistakes large and small.
So, to Whom will you grant the authority to establish the Absolutes on which you will build your World View? THAT is the most important question of all, because it will have both temporal AND ETERNAL consequences.
That’s what we want for you, fellas….all of us; your parents, your teachers, your BBC Music Staff,… all these people who love you and delight in you. We want you show the world that you know how to make thoughtful, careful, intelligent decisions. You can be a man who can be counted on to make the Right Decision at the right time every time.
We love you, fellas, and we are all so proud of you. I look forward to seeing how you will impact your world by always choosing that which is right and good and true and eternal.