It was a shame that the cannons made her cry. Everything had been going well up until then and I had assured her that the big guns would not be too loud. But they were loud and unexpected and she ran from our box. And despite bravely trying not to, burst into tears when I went outside to find her. The 1812 Overture is so exciting and I love the cannons, and the lasers and fireworks, but it was all a bit much for my seven-year-old and we listened to the rest from the corridor. The Can-can finale restored her excitement and we left the Royal Albert Hall deciding which was our favourite piece of music. It wasn't an easy choice as, at the schools' performance of Classical Spectacular, we had heard Mars, Pomp and Cirmcumstance, Bolero, Saint-Saen's Organ concerto, the Blue Danube and more. I think I liked the theme from 2001:a Space Odyessy the best, with the perfectly timed laser show and the lighting rig rising from the auditorium like a UFO. Not the quietest or most refined audience, the 6,000 children cheered and clapped and danced along and it was a great afternoon.
As a home educator, I have always got box seats at the Albert Hall's schools' events because of the high ratio of adults to children: I am one mum with three children. In fact the Second Tier was full of home educating families and a glance around showed me many friendly faces. In the next box but one was a neighbour and we popped into the corridor for a chat and she introducde me to her husband and eldest son. Right across the Hall, so far that I had to squint to recognise the face next to the waving arm, was another friend. It always feels good to be reminded that I am part of a large and lively community of families with many shared values. I am not an odd-ball, and I am not on my own.