Three days a week, I teach theatre to adults with special needs.
Each and every week, I introduce my students to a new piece of musical theatre, and select at least one knew song for them to learn, to hear, and to sing to.
This past week I introduced them to Dear Evan Hansen, and they listened to "You Will Be Found".
The second time they listened to the song, one student, well, she started to cry.
What's the matter? I said.
Happy, she said.
Happy, but sad.
Janna (I changed her name for the purposes of this piece), well, Janna is considered to be non verbal. She can say some words, and knows her name, but her verbal and communication skills are quite limited.
So needless to say, when she sat there after listening to You Will Be Found, eyes wet with tears and smile so wide, my heart practically exploded.
Even with her limited vocal skills, the power and magic of the music of Dear Evan Hansen broke through.
It resonated with her.
She connected with it.
So the next time someone says arts don't matter, and wants to cut an education budget to rid their school or organization of the arts education that's in place - I hope you tell them this story.
The story of music so powerful it knows no bounds.
The story of a girl who heard the message of a show loud and clear.
Art lets us communicate when we no longer have the words - and that's never something to be cast aside.