Something has been nagging at me since Independence Day.
For those who read my Fourth of July blog, you'll remember that I went to the Balloon Park to watch the fireworks. I got there well ahead of the start of the fireworks show, so had time to relax and enjoy the last rays of sunshine. At one end of the huge field, a well-known band (Blood, Sweat and Tears) was performing. But at my end, some local talent was on a portable stage.
People were talking and snacking, children were running and playing - all in all, a very casual, informal crowd. One of the performers stood up and announced, "It's our nation's birthday! We can't let this day end without singing 'God Bless America.' Please, all of you join in and help us sing." When the performers started singing, I began to sing along, all be it in a rather quiet voice. And I started looking around. There were literally thousands of people within sight. Surely one or two were singing "God Bless America." No. The visiting, running, playing and snacking continued, but I didn't see even one other person singing, and very few even appeared to be aware of what was happening on stage.
"Well," I thought, "people are just a little shy about singing. Or maybe they just aren't paying attention to what is happening on stage." I gave them the benefit of the doubt . . . until, after the performers had finished their very fine rendition of that patriotic song, one of them announced, "Okay, everybody, it's time for the Macarena! Come on down to the front and up the stairs, and help us sing and dance! First come, first serve!"
At least a quarter of the crowd, within hearing distance of that small stage, were up, moving forward and queuing up to go on stage. After the stage was filled to capacity, the stage hands turned back the rest of the crowd. First come, first serve! And then, the music began. Not only the people on stage were singing and dancing the Macarena, but so were most of the people in the surrounding crowd.
So much for my "They're shy" theory. So much for my "Not paying attention" theory.
It was a hands down win- Macarena, 1; God Bless America, 0 - on the Fourth of July. Am I the only one who finds that a rather sad commentary?
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