So the good news is that it’s not all going to hell in a hand basket. The Lundstrum school is teaching people the performing arts, honoring all kinds of diversity and doing good things. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

I attended two semester end performances. My grandkids, a girl 10, a boy 8 and a girl 5 attend Lundstrum on Saturdays. They honored Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein with scenes and music from South Pacific. That play first appeared on Broadway in 1949 but many of the messages resonated today. I may see if Netflix has the movie. The song, “You have to be taught to hate and fear” had some audience members in tears me included.

The performers were from age 3 to adult tap dancers. At least 40% were kids of color, mostly black with some asians and lots of mixed race kids. One number was performed with great panache by 9 kids with Down syndrome. This school has students who have made it to Broadway and visiting instructors who have come back from Broadway to teach and inspire.

The youngest was in a medley from The Lion King. The 8 year old was the cat from The Cat in the Hat. The oldest played Annie and her group did, “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and a few other tunes from Annie. I’m not sure how it works after high school, but if you want a big part, be a boy. There were lots more girls than boys until the high schoolers came out. I’d offer the same advice to older single men. You were definitely underrepresented in the adult tap dancing.

I watched a very tall black dad fold himself to the floor to reattach his little 4 year old’s lace tiara with great care. I watched as various parents came down to the stage to shoot video on their cell phone. I saw parents and grandparents high-fiving each other in the mingling afterwards telling each other how great their performers were. There was a big bucket of roses in the lobby where fans could buy a rose for their performer for $1.00.

Each group of performers passed the microphone along after their act. They gave their name and age and said something they liked about being there. All the comments were about community, new friends, instructors who believed in them and just loving being there and growing. The older ones laid claim to growing as artists.

In one little corner of north Minneapolis, good things are happening for our kids.


Credit: Adobe Stock Images. Standard License.