St Gély is a dynamic place. It's the village next door, and while St Bloggie is a calm haven of residential sanity (for the recovering escapees of divorce like myself), it's all happening down the road.
It's where my eldest has his violin lessons, and this evening we went to watch the end of year concert. There seemed to be a lot going on at the same time. In the sports hall were collected mature dancers in 5-gallon hats, girls in green tee-shirts and black cycle shorts and all manner of creative club members set to perform for their annual bash.
We were in the amphitheatre, with comfy seats and a good view. The sports hall has wooden seats and benches, if you're lucky enough to nab one before someone else gets to it. I know this because it's where they hold the judo tournaments six times a year. My eldest used to do judo. I can't say I was sorry when he gave it up.
The concert was due to start at 'six' which of course is an arbitrary time meaning anything from 6.15pm to 7pm depending on when the participants arrive and finally get themselves sorted out. We were quite a party. There was moi (natch - the driver, and mum), my youngest, my eldest (natch - the star), his beloved (yes, they start young in France), her twin sister, and NG. A show of force, you might say.
The first on was a group of classical guitarists aged from about 7 to 13. They did very nicely. Then an electric guitar group came on, to the delight of most of their classmates who were sitting up at the back. One of the classical girls also played the electric guitar, and very well she did too! The prof played the drums, and there were 4 guitarists and one bassist. NG and I were most impressed. I couldn't ask my boys what they thought as they were sitting on the other side of the amphi, my youngest under strict instructions to behave or come and sit by mummy and get walloped when he did something naughty... When the prof introduced the players at the end of the performance, their pals all cheered their particular classmate. Then that half of the audience all got up, trooped down the steps and left!
After a little pianist and a little viola player (who got a special clap from me, being one too!), my eldest came on with his group of fellow violinists and two cellists. I had forgotten my camera (BAAAAAD mother!) and had to fall back on my mobile phone to take a video of them playing.
They did very well. I know my eldest was feeling extremely anxious as he had behaved diabolically this morning before breakfast, but he didn't give in to his nerves and was rightly pleased with himself. I cheered like mad when they'd finished I was so proud.
Just before NG collapsed into a heap, we gathered the young'uns and headed home.
NG and I made a special point of studying the youth on stage, and tried to guess which ones were probably being a bugger at home. On the whole, they seemed nice and relatively normal, which was encouraging. The boys looked alive and animated, and the girls looked clean and fresh.
Music is such a wonderful thing to be part of, especially when you reach the stage where you can play with others. My eldest has now reached that point and, I'm delighted to say, wants to continue playing the violin next year.
On condition he doesn't have to do solfege...