Saturday, November 21, 2009

welcome to skinner hall

those of you who know cheryl know that she doesn't do anything halfway, and her job as a teacher is not excluded in that. her classroom is decorated in a theme that permeates the lessons for the coming year and is so thorough that the design stays for a few years. a couple of summers ago, she asked me for suggestions on a new theme. i suggested "pirates", since her adoration of captain jack sparrow was already evident throughout the room. "or tally hall," i said as a throwaway comment.
she picked that one up and ran with it.

the room colors became yellow, red, grey, green, and blue (corresponding to the guys' ties, for those of you not in the know). banana tokens were given for good behavior. the tables were arranged into colored "tie" groups. the room's entrance greeted you with "i'd like to say 'hello' and welcome you, good day." the by the games, a sign read, "we like to play it all." leaving, you saw, "miss skinner would like to say, 'there's no one better than you." and so it went, throughout the room. there was even a small "shrine" to the band itself in the back corner of the room.
it was perhaps more eccentric than most classrooms in the school, but it was fun. and that year's fifth graders became tally hall fans.

i don't go to their website or myspace page very much, except to find concert information when someone tips me off, but i once noticed an unusual announcement: tally hall would play at your school if your principal was cool with the idea. this seemed a little strange to me until i realized that they probably meant high schools, since that would be a good chunk of their fan base.
yet it didn't explicitly say high schools, or "only high schools" or "no elementary schools."
so i pitched to cheryl the idea of having tally hall come to her elementary school. she loved it and pitched it to her principal who also loved it, thereby winning him the "coolest principal of the year award." we decided we should take pictures of her classroom and send those along with our idea to the guys.
then we didn't do anything for months. occasionally cheryl would remind me and i'd shrug it off. finally, she got me in and we took pictures of everything. and they sat in my iphoto library for some more months.

about a month ago, i decided that it would take roughly seven minutes at most to send an email to rob, joe, ross, andrew and zubin and see what they thought of playing a concert to an elementary.
to my surprise, they wrote back very quickly and very excitedly. and by "they" i mean whatever management company they were with. tally hall was scheduled to be in salt lake on dec. 4 (yea!!) and they could come by that afternoon. regardless of who answered the "" emails, they dug the idea and soon asked me to fill out a form with information about my venue.
seating capacity? cheryl said the gym held about 900 kids.
private or public event? it's at an public school for the kids only. ....?
advertising? um, tell the teachers to come at 1:00 over the p.a.?
ticket pricing? yeah, about that....

i put them in touch with the principal and waited. they were willing to come for the lowest end of their rate, which was still more than a public elementary school had to spend on an afternoon activity. the principal took the matter before the p.t.a. (coolest principal ever, second year in a row) and raised some money, but still far short of what was needed.

cheryl told me this, and unless we could come up with some more money, this was pretty much it. i wondered if we could have each student in the school bring $2, or maybe i could just go door to door; if i was just asking a dollar, people would be willing to give, right? a few weeks of that and we'd be there.

mostly, it looked like the idea was dead. but it was pretty cool that we'd gotten this far.

a week or so ago, the (world's coolest) principal emailed them, saying that they hadn't been able to raise the funds, but that if the band was coming by again next year, to let him know, and maybe the school would have gathered some more by then (so cool).
the planning people wrote back, saying that the boys loved the idea so much that they were willing to do it for what the school had.

that's right: tally hall is playing a concert for the elementary school kids.
(and then another one for us big kids in salt lake that night)
seriously dang.


Natalie said...

Very cool, Jeffrey. Can we go to the school? Probably not, huh? But we could totally pass as some kid's parents...maybe. Good work!

Jack said...

that is so incredibly dang. this is serious, i'm not delirious. Way to go Cheryl and Jeffy for helping to give those kids the sweetest assembly since the Rain Man came...sweeter!

Em said...


Nana Layne said...

FINE!! Good job with your powers of persuasion, JEFF!!

And I think you should attend both concerts.

Laurie said...


I'm sorry, but in some teeny tiny way I'm taking credit for this. I think my buttons just popped off. Oh, the awesomeness. The sincere, freaking awesomeness.

kwistin said...

just so you know, i completely gushed over this the day you wrote it. so. awesome.

i sorta wish i were in cheryl's class.

but still, the injustice with those commercial people *shakes fist in air*...enjoy your run. : )