Hey guys – Ed Francis of Round Rock Drums here. I have a question: What happens when a talent scout from America’s Got Talent (AGT) asks you and your students to audition for their show?
Well, I’m not sure what you would do – but we freaked out!
When first learning about this playing opportunity we were in the middle of our biggest show of the year. My brain was already filled to capacity as I only had three weeks to write, rehearse and produce a presentation for a spot on AGT.
I remember thinking, “can we pull this off?”
After accepting the invitation I began writing (a process that usually begins with waking up a 3 a.m. after literally dreaming-up the ideas), video taping the various parts (lots of parts) for students to practice during their free time, and sending out all the different links to my students.
These kids watched the links and even practiced during their Winter break from school. Where I was hoping to be inspiring to my students they dedication ended up inspiring me!
It’s cool to have people who believe in what you’re doing. The parents helped when I asked for the financial support required to purchase the needed supplies. We bought buckets, trashcans, PVC pipes, red shirts (no Star Trek jokes, please) and whistles, too.
We loaded drum equipment, traveled with a small army of well over 70 people (including students and their families), and hoped everyone would eventually make it to the AGT audition on time.
As with anything worth doing, there are usually some things which happen which are unplanned.
A few hours into traveling to Houston our moving truck starting breaking apart – things were actually falling off! We ended up using duct tape to help fix the problems. We also learned how several families had actually driven different vehicles during the trip as their cars had broken down.
During all the craziness, some parents had forgotten required identification – a needed item for their kids to participate in the audition. They ended up driving all the way back to Round Rock and to Houston again (a four hour drive, each way) to retrieve the paperwork.
Nothing was going to stop these kids from performing.
Once we arrived at the audition most everything happened very quickly. After unloading the moving truck and organizing the equipment, kids and parents, we met with AGT organizers who gave us direction.
AGT’s registration process was lengthy but very well organized. We were provided with a “Front Of The Line” Pass and a dedicated administrator who allowed our entourage to bypass the general line.
The people at AGT thoughtfully designated a large space for us to use during our 90-second performance. After trekking long distances, riding escalators, carrying heavy equipment, we set up and waited to perform.
And then – a producer brought in a filming crew and asked if we were ready…
The kids enthusiastically ran around their drums, danced with one another, excitedly pumped their arms into the air, screamed at the top of their lungs, and beat the heck out of the drums!
The entire performance area was filled with dancers, singers, instrumentalists, magicians, actors and all kinds of entertainers. When we finished our presentation there was a moment of absolute silence, followed by intense applause from those very same onlooking performers.
This was a moment I will never, ever forget, and that moment of silence was the best part.
These kids felt encouraged and now know what it’s like to work hard, stay focused and perform at the top of their game. Their reward is found in the exciting experience of auditioning and being able to produce a great performance when it counted the most.
I’m proud of my students and hope to inspire an entire nation of musicians to help kids know that they can follow their dreams.
Who have you inspired today?
Drum Coach, Round Rock Drums
Co-Founder, Rhythm Workshops