33 years ago, I danced off the stage of “American Bandstand” singing the hit record, “Happy Days” right into the classroom at Village Christian School. As I put down my baton as Elementary Music Director and say farewell to my Village family, my heart is flooded with wonderful memories of the teachers, children, and families that I will never forget. My teaching here has never been a “job” but a fulfillment of what God called me to do.
I will remember fondly, the 100 musicals I directed at Christmas and Easter; the Thanksgiving and Grandparent Day programs; the Patriotic 5th grade Culminations honoring our Armed Forces; the concerts for Honor Choir and Strings and the ACSI Festivals that I took students to; the weekly music classes I taught that exposed kids to great composers and their music, while showing them how to read and write music, play the instruments of the orchestra and sing, dance, act, and perform on a stage; the recorders I taught to 3rd graders as well as dancing the Irish Jig on St. Patrick’s Day and of course, dancing around the sombrero for Cinco de Mayo celebration.
I recall the joy of taking students to see live theater to experience amazing Broadway shows like Phantom of the Opera¸ Music Man¸ Lion King, Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and many others at the Pantages and Ahmanson Theatres and Glendale Centre Theatre.
While teaching during these years, I was thrilled to be nominated with my husband Jerry, for a Grammy Award for our record “Happy Days”; a Focus on the Family Award for our book, Happy Days & Dark Nights; and an Angel Award for our talk show “Happy Days with Jerry & Susanne McClain” on Salem Network.
I will miss it all, but hopefully, I have brought “Happy Days” to the thousands of students I have taught over the years and yes, even now to the children of those first students I had. If they have enjoyed a love for music and have discovered their God-given musical talents along the way, then I will have left my mark on their hearts and touched their lives forever, just as they have on mine.
I look forward to my farewell concerts, including the Honor Choir Concert at Village Church in Burbank on May 8; the Band & Strings Spring Concert on May 20 and the 5th Grade Culmination on May 28 at Village Christian School.
Thanks for the memories … Susanne McClain