Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Stomping in a Winter Wonderland

My fifth graders had their Christmas program last night. Yeah - and it was all Christmas all the time. Not that I'm going to get into how insane I think the right-wingers are for fighting the non-existent 'War on Christmas'. I'll save the political rant for another time and merely say that there was slim to no chance that anyone in the audience (other than myself) was offended by (or likely even noticed) the lack of holiday inclusivity last night.

Instead of ranting, I'm going to say that I love Christmas carols - especially when sung by my children. And I'm also going to say that there is great mystery involved in this because my children and obviously the entire fifth grade at our neighborhood elementary school are completely and absolutely lacking in musical ability. Mr. H (the music teacher - who is utterly cool and plays Led Zepplin on his guitar for the kids) cannot be blamed. He is dedicated and quite gifted and should get immense credit for even creating a program where the carols could be recognized as carols, given the raw lack of talent he had to work with. The children, untroubled by their non-musicality, were clearly having a great time. The program was a half hour of perky, modern Christmas medleys followed by three or four traditional hymns - all choreographed with arm motions, head bobs, claps, and sways.

The claps were the most painful. You could tell that a clapping part was coming up because there were a few foreshadowing claps. Then there was a stacato burst of almost on-beat clapping which trailed off into random clapping punctuaion over the next few verses of the song. But the only reason that the clapping was the most painful is because there was more of it. Otherwise the "What the hell was Mr. H thinking?!" award would have to go to the foot 'tapping' of 102 fifth graders on metal bleachers during "Winter Wonderland". Fortunately the children have even less rhythm in their feet than they do in their hands and so the parents/grandparents/assorted siblings were not deafened, merely startled. And only two fifth graders (neither one mine) fell off the bleachers - one slowly tipping backwards and the other with arms spiraling, making a theatric leap off and then back on. If either of them cried out, the sound was lost in the uninterrupted stomping and humming. Did I mention the humming? I'm not sure Mr. H had planned the humming. It only came from one side of the bleachers and evaporated under what may have been a quelling glance. Come to think of it though, that may also have been a concerned glance since that was the side with the tumbling angels. Hard to tell when, as parents, we only see the back of Mr. H's head. What we could tell was that Mr. H must have exhausted his repertoire of hand/feet motions because after "Winter Wonderland" the children mostly stared dramatically out into the lights with their hands clasped in front of them as the program wound down.

The finale was the off-key (and yet no less angelic) rendition of "Silent Night". I got misty-eyed. In spite of having to sit next to the Tapioca Head (= the ex whom I refuse to blog about even though he sooo deserves it after the last few days) and in spite of having a feverish Sweet Hubby miss the program entirely to stay home with an equally feverish (and also throwing up) seven-year old - I thoroughly enjoyed the school program. One of those Christmas miracles. It got me in the holiday spirit (although I'd personally like to rearrange the phrase and say I am now in the spirit of the holidays.) So....

Ho ho ho, y'all. <------Actual line from the last night's program. (In fact, they said it twice.)
Merry Christmas. <----Which they also said twice.
And Happy Holidays! Happy Yule! Happy Kwanza! Happy Hanukah! <----None of which they said, but which I say.
And Peace.


Deb R said...

First of all, it sounds to me like that evenign of music would have made a great video!

Second of all, YES on the inclusive holiday greetings! I was just ranting in my head about this very thing this morning. (Does that make me crazy?)

When I was shopping the other day, a store employee was telling the customer in front of me "Merry Christmas" and sneering at how "stupid" another store nearby was because the employees were not allowed to say that and if they said anything it had to be "Happy Holidays" and both these women were saying how that was silly.

And I, big-mouth that I am, butted in and said, "Well not everyone celebrates Christmas you know. If they say 'Happy Holidays', it not only includes Christians, it also includes people who celebrate Hanukah, or Kwaanzaa, or Yule instead, or who choose to celebrate the season in a completely non-religious way."

They both looked at me like I'd sprouted another head and smiled nervously and scurried away. Sigh. Sometimes I forget where I'm living.

Oops, this got long! Sorry!

Darren said...

Yeah, I heard someone complaining the other day at how all these "people" were trying to wipe out christmas with all these fake holiday's. I, also being a big-mouth, said, "well, what goes around comes around". when ask to elaborate I mentioned how The Roman Catholic Church had the habit of absorbing pagan traditions into Christendom, and christmas AKA winter solstice was one of them. I don't think I will be getting christmas cards from them.