Christmas Kids Are Singing
The evening ahead holds one of my favorite holiday events: The Christmas program at my daughters’ elementary school.
There’s something about gatherings like this one. The room packed with viscous energy, the kids with sweet spirit, dressed in their festive finery. The collection of families and, when the time comes, the vocal songs the students have prepared to share.
I love the shy kids, the loud ones. The girls in too-fancy dresses with perfect mom-approved hair, and the boys with cowlicks in uncomfortable slacks. Surely I’m not the only one who finds herself overcome with soft emotion at these things.
When I was in high school, I sang in a cappella, chamber, and show choirs. Of the dozens of concerts we gave annually, nothing came close to the magic of the Christmas performance.
Just before show time we’d gather in the hallways, candlesticks would be distributed, and lit. Then, with the house lights down, we’d enter the auditorium and, singing O Come All Ye Faithful with no accompaniment, we’d weave through the audience to the risers on stage. Pacing had to be just right, as did the notes, for it to come off so well. It was perfect (to my recollection, anyway).
I remember standing in the hall waiting for go time, bursting with anticipation over this thing we were about to do. I remember walking the aisle, focused on the flame of my candle, singing my alto part across its flicker, sure of the full effect of the chorus’ glow. Aware of the audience, how captive they were. What an opening. To this day, I’m pretty sure that’s my favorite Christmas hymn.
And I can remember my childhood school programs, too, years of Frosty the Snowman and Jolly Old Saint Nicholas. It was so darn exciting to go to school at night, when it was dark out, and see my everyday friends. Such a different vibe about the place. What a trip to know my own kids are experiencing the same things.
So, I’m looking forward to, once again, going with my girls to their school for tonight’s performance. I will soak it all up, the sights and sounds, that holiday feel. I will digest memories of my own programs over the years, too, between songs.
And I’ll be sure to take some tissues. Just in case that soft emotion gets me.