The Pine Lane Intermediate Men’s Choir was invited to sing the National Anthem at the Denver Nuggets Game on January 27, 2012. David and I volunteered to help chaperone. The boys, around 50 4th, 5th and 6th graders, left school at 3:30 and rode the bus to Pepsi Center (Denver). I had to sub (I committed to doing this before we knew that the boys would be singing) until 3 pm. I raced home, picked up David, and off we went. We actually arrived at Pepsi Center before the boys did.I honestly don’t think that the Denver Nuggets were prepared for having 50 young boys that they needed to have occupied until they sang at 6:50 pm. They asked the boys to be there by 4:45 pm. And the bus arrived around 4:15 pm. Once we found out where we were supposed to go, we waited in the lobby of the stadium until almost 5 pm. Of course, the boys being boys were getting restless. Originally, the Choir Director, Mr. Leatherman, was told that he would be able to have parent chaperones. After we got to the stadium, they told us that the parents could not hang out with the kids. What that would mean was that Mr. Leatherman would be supervising 50 Elementary School boys for nearly 2 hours on his own. Bad decision on the part of the Nuggets.
The Nuggets staff took the boys to do a sound check, and we convinced the staff to let the parents help supervise the boys until they sang and to allow us to take the boys to get something to eat. They had us in a conference room, chairs were stilled piled up and there was nothing in the room for the boys to do. There were 2 TVs, but they weren’t turned on and we couldn’t get them to turn on.
I was wearing my Douglas County High School Shirt and my Douglas County School District ID. When Mr. Leatherman took a group of boys to the bathroom, the boys still in the conference room were getting out of hand. I worked at getting them settled down and used my best tools to get their attention. I guess that got the attention of the Nuggets staff, because shortly after that, I was asked if I could remain behind and help Mr. Leatherman supervise the boys when the parents were required to go to their seats. Mr. Leatherman was relieved. I sent David down to our seats so he could record the performance. I stayed behind and helped Mr. Leatherman keep the boys under control.
We brought the boys out of the conference room a few minutes before they were supposed to start singing. Then we needed to keep them quiet until they went out to sing. The week before I went to a Professional development training that taught us how to help kids calm down after being energized. I had the boys follow my directions and Mr. Leatherman and I were very surprised when it worked. The boys calmed down. It was still difficult to keep them quiet.
The boys went out to sing and did an AMAZING job. We were all so proud of them. When all the boys had met up with their parents and the boys who didn’t have parents attending, were settled, Michael and I headed to our seats.
The game didn’t mean much to me. I don’t have any interest in basketball and there was so much going on around us. But it was exciting.
Michael had the opportunity to go down to the tunnel during half-time, but there was a mix-up and all the kids missed the chance. Another miscalculation on the part of the Nuggets staff. But, Michael did get to go down to the court after the game to shoot baskets.
I think that the Nuggets staff could have made the experience so much more for the kids. They really didn’t anticipate how 50 boys would behave. They should have been more prepared. They weren’t. Mr. Leatherman will know better what to expect and what to ask for, if his choir is ever asked to sing at another Nuggets game. It was still an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. And the boys were the youngest group to ever sing the National Anthem at a Nuggets Game.
You can listen to the video here.