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||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||recital, rehearsal, performer, props, announcer, classical, saying, piano, applause, platform, confidence, congregation, stage, beginning, evade, nearly
||Since Jacob, Jacob Reardon
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By Beth Beutler
1 Jacob's first piano recital was Sunday afternoon. Every year, each student would play a song from a category of their choice; popular music, classical, or a song they wrote themselves. At the beginning of the year, he had set his sights on being able to play a challenging classical song. He would play in front of the large congregation who usually attended these recitals. His teacher thought it was an obtainable goal if he worked diligently, so Jacob had practiced faithfully all year.
2 As the day of the recital approached, Jacob got a little nervous thinking about playing in front of 200 or more people. However, he was also optimistic. His teacher told him he knew his piece well, and that would help keep his nerves at bay. Jacob thought of this as he arrived at the church where the recital would be held.
3 The crowd was noisy and even a little boisterous as they greeted their friends and settled into their seats. Jacob and the other students had arrived earlier and were in a choir rehearsal room behind the church platform.
4 Jacob took a moment to peek out around the door to the platform. He could not evade the feeling of butterflies in his stomach even as he took deep breaths. Suddenly he felt a hand on his trembling shoulder.
5 "Come, now, Jacob," his teacher gently spoke. "It's not always wise to look at a crowd before playing. Preserve your nerves by spending a few quiet minutes alone."
6 "Yes, sir," Jacob replied. He walked down a short hallway and found a small room with props. He sat down on a box next to something that looked like a cradle. He looked around and then closed his eyes. He relaxed as he thought about the fun of playing well in front of many people.
7 Before long, he heard the muffled welcome of the announcer. Since Jacob was to play third, he walked back to the rehearsal room to join the others.
8 The first two students played well, and as he listened to the crowd's support, Jacob relaxed a bit more. That was before he heard the announcer say,
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