There wasn’t a whole lot of interest in the thing (being Tallaght children, we were all too busy burning cars and kicking the elderly to take part in something so creative), so eventually our principal decided to force the teachers to throw a few kids from each class into the ‘competition’.
Being a wonderfully shy and quiet child, I was the easiest for the teacher to bully into it, and with a sweep of her hand and a “Oh but you’re in the school choir aaaaaanyway”, there I was with my name on the list.
Yeah sure, I was in the school choir….at the back and miming because I was too embarrassed to actually sing….but that woman was pure evil to force me onto a stage in front of a school of my peers!
I had no idea what to sing.
As the eldest in my family, I had no older siblings to bestow their musical knowledge on me and so the only real exposure I had to music was my parents.
My dad liked hideous Irish and Country music, so that was out.
My mum liked 80s music, but when you’re a kid you just can’t appreciate ‘retro’ or ‘vintage’…it’s all just old and boring.
That year there was a Grease revival, so I eventually settled on singing Hopelessly Devoted to You.
Suddenly it was the day of the show and I was psyching myself up for the humiliation that was before me
It got off to a bad start as the woman who had forced me into doing the thing wouldn’t let me leave the class so I was the last one to arrive to the pre-show-gathering.
When I did get there, I was ushered to the sign-in sheet by a haggard looking teacher, who began shrieking at another student and abandoned me.
Looking at the sheet, I saw that we had to write down our name and our song….and I also saw that someone else had already written down MY SONG!
She was also a REALLY scary Tallaght Girl who was in the year above me and pretty much scared the poo out of me.
I looked around the room and spotted her dressed in a full Sandy costume.
Actually, come to think of it, everyone seemed dressed up.
And were clutching tapes.
They brought MUSIC to sing to???
I was in my school tracksuit and I didn’t even have a song!
When did this become a big deal and since WHEN were people taking it seriously!?
I contemplated running away, but I’m not very good at running so I figured they’d catch me easily.
“Everyone sit down beside the stage now…the students will be here to see you in five minutes,” shouted the teacher who had abandoned me.
WHAT WAS I GOING TO SING!!!???
So I sat there, shaking with panic and fear.
I didn’t know any current music….and I couldn’t remember any of the few songs I DID know!
The girl who stole my song was up on stage and singing it way better than I could have.
I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes.
And then it came to me.
And it was the only song I could think of.
Colours of the Wind.
Longest 3 minutes of my life.
And the next month of Pocahontas jokes didn’t go by that quickly either.
Three years later, I went on to Secondary School, abandoning all those who knew (and enjoyed reminding me) about the Pocahontas Incident.
And then halfway through First Year in school, a girl in my Form Class came up to me.
“Do you know X?” she asked.
“Why yes I do know X” I said
“Yeah we go to the same horse riding club. He said you got up on stage last year and sang a Pocahontas song dressed up like an Indian…” she said, smirking at me.