A Night Downtown, by Miguel Rodriguez


A Night Downtown, by Miguel Rodriguez

Austin at nightWhat do you get when a group of high school guitar students goes out for a night on the town? What do I mean by “a night on the town”? In this case, I mean that two guitar classes from my high school had the honor to play for the Austin Independent School District board members!

Let’s just say it was a pretty cool night!

As our group arrived we began to feel nervous. The board members could change our school with a few votes, so we wanted to perform well. We calmed down, though, when we saw the other class from Akins show up.

We were promised food before we played, and I for one could not wait! And wouldn’t you know it they brought out the pizza for everyone! As a teen I can tell you one thing… teenagers plus pizza equals full bellies!

After eating, it was time to take out our guitars and prep them for the moment of truth. We started to tune, and our teacher, Mr. Osborne, helped out by checking the pitch of our strings as a whole class. We all laughed anxiously, because we were outside and it was a little hard to hear our own guitars as cars passed by – their motors drowned out the sound of our strings.

We were quiet for some time, waiting for our moment to shine and play in front of the board members. We waited, and waited, and waited a little more. Finally, in a flurry, we had to be rushed into the meeting because it turned out that they accidently skipped our time to enter! It’s awkward to walk into a room of unfamiliar people who are expecting to hear you play for them. I felt like I was going into a room full of strangers and all eyes were on me… but we were ready to blow them away with our music. I imagine most musicians probably feel this way when they go to play a concert. Our group worked hard to prepare, and now it was time to “go big or go home!”

We sat down and made eye contact with one another. In that one single moment when our eyes met we seemed to encourage each other to play the best we could for the board members and the rest of the audience.

We waited (again!) for a while as the out-going board members gave their farewells and hoped for the best for the new members that would fill their spots. Finally the attention was on us and it got quiet. Mr. Osborne quietly checked our tuning one more time before we played. All of our eyes were on him as he raised his baton. We played three pieces and then the audience applauded our performance. In my opinion we actually did pretty well! I was honored to play for the board members. My greatest pride came from doing it together as a class!

In the end we were happy that it was over. It felt like a burden was lifted from our shoulders. We all packed our things and one by one we all left. As I walked out I could not help but look back and smile, knowing that another group of people enjoyed our music…

Miguel Rodriguez is a freshman in one of the Akins High School guitar classes. He started guitar in the 6th grade at Fullmore Middle School

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