Last night I had the opportunity to experience another old-fashioned Christmas Tradition, the school Christmas Concert! In some places, this has gone completely out the window. In a frenzy of political correctness, some people have chosen to be offended by this bit of charm. In some towns, if they have an event at all, it is called a seasonal performance or a holiday show and then there is nothing remotely holiday-ish about it. Or if there is, it's every single holiday, except Christmas. I was so pleased that this particular school is courageous enough to have a Christmas, no question about it, Concert.
When did Christmas become so offensive? And what about it, exactly offends you? I'm not offended by other people's celebrations, so it is a mystery to me. I celebrate Christmas. But I am not even remotely offended by someone who wishes me a Happy Hanukkah or a Joyous Kwanzaa. I accept the sentiment in the spirit in which it is given and wish them the same.
I love the idea of including music from other cultures and countries. The performance I saw last night had music from Spain, France, Scotland and Rwanda amoung many others. In fact, there were very few pieces in English. It was wonderful, delightful even. The kids did a great job, which is to say, their choir director, who is my niece as it so happens, did an amazing job. Each group was better than the last. They all looked so excited and so proud of themselves.
I remember being oe of those kids surprisingly well myself, considering how long ago it was. The giggling nerves, that prickly feeling that fills you up and makes it hard to breathe for a moment while climbing those metal risers. I even recall the sound of all those shoes ringing against the metal. Initially there is a fear of falling off those stepped platforms, but once all the kids are packed in, you couldn't fall off it you tried. The kids fidget in place and fuss with their hair, their tie, their jewlery, they bump elbows and sweat a little, suddenly worrying that they will forget the words, or hit the wrong note. And then it begins.
All those earnest young faces singing their hearts out searching the audience for faces they recognize. Can you imagine how disappointed they must be when they find that familiar face only to witness that person either engaged in conversation with their neighbor or worse staring at their cellphones? That's what I saw last night. I was so pleased to see a full house. In fact, it was an SRO crowd! They had to pull chairs from all over the school to accomodate the number of people who attended. How exciting! And then to endure a constant buzz of conversation in the audience that continued throughout the performance was disheartening to me. How must it have felt to those kids?
Oh they weren't perfect either. In their excitement, a few of them got a little silly and their teacher (again my niece) had to get after them once or twice, but maybe it was the example shown to them by the adults in their lives that dictated their behaviour. Maybe its the adults who show up in body but not in spirit that make them believe that what they do doesn't really matter, that it's not important. That's sad.
It was important. It does matter. Those kids were amazing last night. It was a delightful performance, the music was wonderful and I enjoyed nearly every moment of it. I wish I could explain, in some way, to the misbehaving adults (to be fair not all of them, but far too many) what a big deal last night was, in their kids lives and in their own. This should have been a treasured memory captured forever so that in years to come, sitting with future generations they have a story to tell their grandchildren. It would be so great if all of those adults could honestly say that was a night to remember and how awesome the performance was and how special the memory.
If you aren't paying attention, there is nothing special to remember.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.