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Land of Beat Poets and Amish Rappers

Land of Beat Poets and Amish Rappers

The title to Katie’s blog last week reminded me of one of the most simple yet beautiful times of Echo: the talent show. Through the weeks, we saw the entirety of The Princess Bride recreated; we heard piano playing, beautifully written songs, and the ordered cacophony of tap shoes; we felt (or at least one of us did) the refreshing cascade of buckets of water being spilled all over us; and we even got a taste of Eric Garner’s dance moves.

These were fun times for me. I was consistently impressed and humbled by the talent that could be drummed up from just a few people with only about an hour of preparation.  But talent shows were more than that for me. They were a microcosm of the larger community of Echo. At the talent shows, I saw a people dedicated to service, worship, study, and community. Service was being willing to take a backseat in someone else’s talent (maybe setting up the music for someone else’s dance, doing the beat-box for a friend’s rap, or giving up your costume for another person’s routine). Worship was evident in the content of the songs and poems written and performed. Study was clear in the math demonstrations that were given, the careful crafting of a verse, and the rote memorization of the entire song Amish Paradise. And community was all over the place. Community was the laughter that was the soundtrack of our evenings–my sides ached after each one. Community was the encouragement and acceptance and praise of one another–not once all summer did I hear boos or biting remarks. Community was the vulnerability–to stand up in front of a group and sing accapella a song that you wrote takes guts and it takes trust!

On the surface, talent shows were just straight up fun. My stuffed Eeyore costume was precious to me, and he brought to life the spirit of the dance that had lay dormant for so long in my soul. But there was a lot more to it than just that. Like I said, it’s a microcosm of the larger Echo experience.


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