Once a Purple Tornado…


Brian Golden

While this week has been a little on the hectic side, I must admit it’s been a lot of fun as well. And to be completely honest, when informed I would be covering Spirit Week at NHS I got pretty excited. It’s not often that I get a chance to roam the halls of my alma mater, not to mention it’s always great to see those former teachers of mine that are still there, imparting their knowledge to a whole new generation of kids (you haven’t changed a bit Mrs. Fertig).

And then there’s the music department at NHS, where I spent the majority of my time throughout high school. Time usually spent occupying my space in the hallway leading to the auditorium strumming away and trying to make that pesky guitar make the sounds I so badly wanted it to. It certainly doesn’t look the same, I can tell you that much, and I’ve gotten lost a time or two trying to find my way around. And the music students I’ve run into this week? I’ll let you in on a little secret – these kids are talented. Extremely talented.

On Monday, I had a chance to meet with music teacher Mary Mayo, who just happens to be my former choir instructor and musical educator. Mary and I go way back, and she was instrumental to my growth as a musician. Prior to her teachings, getting me to listen to anything other than Hendrix, Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughan was, well, impossible. Mary, however, taught me the importance of being a better listener. Regardless, I must say I was completely unprepared for the Mixed Choir rehearsal she was conducting when I walked into the auditorium early this week.

These kids are fantastic. And by fantastic I mean talented beyond any expectation I could’ve ever had. It’s not like Mozart’s Requiem is a piece of cake for any group, no matter their age or level of ability, but the members of the NHS Mixed Choir have this stuff down cold. By far some of the most beautiful music I’ve ever heard in the NHS auditorium, and I’ve been a part of some pretty inspiring performances there myself, way back when.

My week so far has been an enlightening one to say the least. These days it seems you can’t go ten minutes without hearing someone moaning about how dreadful and disrespectful today’s kids are. And while I’m sure the Norwich High School, like any school, has its share of bad apples, I can tell you one thing – my experience covering Spirit Week has been nothing but positive. Every student I’ve spoken with, photographed or watched perform has been extremely gracious, polite and intelligent. These are good kids and it’s been inspiring to say the least.

With that, I’ll say good luck to both the seniors and freshmen of the Purple Team and the juniors and sophomores of the White Team. I’d part with the clichéd “may the best team win,” but that really doesn’t sum up my Spirit Week experience to date. Instead I’ll simply say “have fun and thanks for a great experience.”

Once a Tornado always a Tornado I guess.