Parents, guardians, uncles, and aunts,

Thank you for coming to our annual Earth Day School Concert. As principal, I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working with this wonderful group of students and teachers. These students are an absolute joy to work with, and I am continually amazed at their progress. And the teachers here with us tonight are truly amazing professionals who deserve a round of applause. But before we get started, I need you to know that we have not been working very hard on this.

I’m not saying it won’t be a good concert. I’m sure it will be great. But really, did you want your child to be working hard on this? Math? I’m sure you want them working hard on that. Reading, too, for sure. Not repeating the swear words that they heard at home? We’re toiling away arduously on that one.

But come on, these kids only have so much grit before they get completely fatigued, and we didn’t want to squander it on holding hands and singing songs about recycling. I’m going to tell you the same thing my dad told me when he told me I should quit my new wave band: “You’ve only got so many hours in the day, champ.” Like me, we chose the safe option: school stuff.

And then there’s the question of whether or not music itself should be work. Music feeds the soul. It inspires us. It’s playful. That’s what really drew me to the genre of new wave; with all those drum machines and synthesizers, it didn’t feel like work to just press a few buttons and tweak a few knobs. But when we started playing gigs and meeting with record executives, and suddenly we were just going through the motions, working our way up the ladder, and my dad was constantly on my back about school. I thought, “This was supposed to be fun!” I quit, enrolled in an education program, the band changed their name to Kajagoogoo, they wrote the hit song “Too Shy,” and the rest is history. I have never regretted this choice because, after a long day at work, I still get to go home to my Yamaha CS-80.

Work is work and play is play!

Lastly, I do want you to lower your expectations somewhat. These kids are good—don’t get me wrong, but during rehearsal, I couldn’t help but think of all the potential, if we really put the pedal to the metal. Again, the show itself is serviceable, but if we really did want to work hard on this Earth Day Concert, believe me, it would make your brains explode.

Like, Ms. Kirby’s a great piano player, but the piano’s a pretty simple instrument. Could you imagine if we had her on a polyphonic synthesizer? And the choreo is cute, but if we really buckled down and practiced, she could have been bouncing around the stage with the kids doing some David Byrne dance moves.

Have you guys seen Stop Making Sense? If we really worked hard at it, I think we could have gone more conceptual like that. We could have gotten out the sewing machine and put all the kids in big suits with huge shoulder pads. One kid could have dressed in a big papier-mâché Earth and we could have done some light pyrotechnics to represent global warming. Maybe when the beat dropped in, the kid could have punched his way out of the paper papier-mâché to reveal a smaller Earth costume, giving the audience a utopia everyone recycled. But we made the bold choice to not work that hard, and we all decided to just tell the kids to wear black shoes. I’m mostly convinced we made the right choice.

It’s just tough because I want you guys to know that I’m a hard worker, and when I set my mind to something, it can truly be incredible. Yeah, Kajagoogoo is a big band, but honestly, if I had stuck with it, they would have been the next Depeche Mode. But I’m a principal first, musician second. And as much as I might wonder about what could have been, that ship has sailed, both for me and the Earth Day Concert.

So without further adieu, I present our annual Earth Day Concert that we did not try that hard on, and that’s okay. We’re happy with where we are in life. Our dads were right.