“Big Ange and the Violin” by Christina @ The Bookshelf Corner © January 30, 2017
Big Ange loved to play the violin. She would play in the spring, in the summer, in the fall, and in the winter. She would play it if she was happy or sad or lonely or bored. She would play all the time. The sound released as the redwood bow slide up and down across the strings was so enchanting and beautiful. They were the prettiest sounds she had ever heard.
Her family loved to listen to her play the violin. They clapped wildly after each piece and cheered vigorously, “Play on, Big Ange, play on!” And she did. A little of Bach’s “Minuet” here or “Gavotte in G minor” there.
The only place Big Ange would not play her violin was at school.
Everyone at school had a talent. Carly could sing and knew every song on the radio. Terrence could climb to the top of the monkey bars without getting scared. Joanne could do a cartwheel over and over again. Matthew could draw nifty pictures of almost anything. All the kids teased Big Ange because she did not have a cool or special talent. Without some sort of talent she felt like she could not fit in, although she tried her best.
“Is this a talent?” Big Ange asked as she tied her shoes with her eyes closed.
“No way,” said Terrence. “Anyone can do that.”
Then she walked around gingerly on the tips of her toes. “Is this a talent?” Big Ange inquired.
“Not at all,” said Joanne. “That just seems strange.”
Feeling discouraged, Big Ange sulked the rest of the day. At home, she sat in her bedroom and continued to mope while playing John Barry’s “Somewhere In Time” nonstop. Sometimes the composition she chose to play reflected her mood.
Her mother poked her head into the room. “Angie, would you come downstairs, please,” her mother said. “Pop Pop surprised us with a visit. He says he’d like to hear to you play something.”
“Okay, Mom,” Big Ange replied, still feeling a little upset. But when she began to play for Pop Pop and the rest of her family, her mood began to lift.
“Play on, Big Ange, play on!” Pop Pop said.
“Play on, Big Ange, play on!” her little brother, Lenny, repeated.
At recess the next day, Big Ange tried again to find a talent. She did a tuck and roll and came up standing, arms raised proudly in the air. “Is this a talent?” Big Ange wanted to know.
“I’m afraid not,” Carly said. “There’s nothing unique about that at all.”
Then Big Ange chewed some bubble gum and blew a really big bubble. “Is this a talent?” she asked.
“Hardly,” Matthew said, shaking his head. “Getting all messy is not something to be proud of.”
Well Big Ange was certainly at a loss. She had tried everything but nothing seemed to work. Who knew it would be so hard to find a talent?
When they came back inside, Mrs. Cardigan made an announcement. “This Friday we will be having a class talent show,” she said as she passed out flyers. “Everyone will get a chance to perform. Your families and guardians are invited as well!” The room buzzed with excitement while Big Ange sat dejected. She slowly raised her hand. “Yes, Ange?” Mrs. Cardigan asked.
“Um…what if you don’t have a talent?” Her classmates giggled under their breaths.
Mrs. Cardigan gave them a stern look before answering, “Everyone has something they are good at. Something they enjoy doing above all else.” Big Ange was not so sure.
Later that night, she was playing her violin when her mom came to check on her. “How is my Angie doing?” she asked.
Big Ange put her instrument down. She quickly hid the flyer that was on her bedside table under her pillow. “I’m alright,” she responded, quietly. She did not want her mother to know just how troubled and confused she was. But mother’s always know.
Her mom walked over and took the flyer out from under her pillow. “A talent show? And family are invited? How wonderful! Why would you hide this?” her mother questioned.
“Because I don’t have a talent!” Big Ange cried. “Everyone else at school does but I don’t.”
Her mom sat down beside her child and hugged her. “Of course you have a talent, Angie,” she cooed, pointing to the instrument.
“Playing the violin is a talent?” The violin always brought her such joy. But for it to be a talent? Big Ange had never considered that.
“It is,” her mother said. “It’s something you’re good at and something you love to do. You make everyone happy when you play. I think your classmates would be happy to hear you play, too.”
The day of the talent show, Big Ange was very nervous. Even though she practiced her song all week, she worried she would look silly in front of everyone, including her family who were in attendance.
A hush fell over the room as she made her way to the front. She had done this many times before in front of her family but this was different. Well, it was now or never. Big Ange took up position and let her violin sing. The smooth cadence of Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” resonated loud and true. And as the vibrato of the final note played the room erupted into applause. Big Ange could not believe how happy her classmates looked.
“What a talent!” a girl said.
“How cool!” said a boy.
It was such a surreal moment that Big Ange thought she was dreaming.
Then her dad shouted, “Play on, Big Ange, play on!” and the kids chorused, “Play on, Big Ange, play on!” So she played again, this time Shinichi Suzuki’s uplifting “Allegro.”
And that was how Big Ange discovered her talent.
Authors Note: I don’t remember where this idea came from but it seemed like a fun story for a picture book. It was inspired in part by one of my closest friends and my love for the violin. I hope you enjoyed this story even without the pictures. Let me know what you think. Any feedback is welcomed.