Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

The Christmas Concert:
By Andrea Cameron

We stood outside the doors, speaking in hushed tones, our palms sweating. We checked and double-checked our camera batteries. Older children clomped around in snow-boots and a kind volunteer offered us snacks. I tried to peer between the curtains to catch a glimpse of the other side. When the doors opened, we surged into the room, straining our necks to spot our children.

And there they were, fourteen little kids all seated on the stage, hands folded in their laps. My son saw me and grinned, trying to control the urge to jump up and wave. At that moment, I--along with an army of other doting parents--had been initiated into a new world, the world of The Children's Christmas Concert.

It's not that I'm a stranger to this concept. As a teacher, I've organized Christmas performances. My favourite memory is of our school concert in Grise Fiord, Nunavut. Kindergarten to Grade Twelve were involved. We even had to build our own stage and make our own curtains. We line-danced, sang, played the drums, and performed skits. I was stressed beyond belief with the preparation but it was a magical evening I'll never forget. Consequently, I relate completely to the furrowed brow, the hoarse voice, and the joyful smiles of my fellow teachers at this time of year.

However, having never been a parent in the audience, I had no idea what happens on the other side. I was more nervous than if it had been me about to perform. The sound from our video taken that night is filled with the proud comments and knowing laughter from my husband and me.

When our son decided to deliver his own "Heavy Metal" performance during Feliz Navidad, I can hear our embarrassed snickers. We've seen this performance many times at home and knew our boy loved having a captive audience for his rock star moment. Yet when he twirled with his classmates in their ice skating scene, there's silence from us--we were both dabbing our eyes.

The show was just under thirty minutes, but there was enough drama and comedy to rival any production I've seen. There were sleigh bells and reindeer antlers. There was a tricycle sleigh and a sock horse. The girls curtseyed and the boys bowed. I marvelled at how every school the nation over has achieved such feat of organization this year...and every year.

There is something about a children's Christmas concert that makes me have faith in the world. Thank you to all the educators and helpers who make this happen every year. Thank you to our community's children for sharing your hard work with us. Merry Christmas to all!

My new book, Cameron's Corner: Collected Columns has just been released. Covering everything from potty learning to politics, it makes a great read for the holidays. Copies are available at Leeds County Books, Dreamweaver, The Woolly Lamb, and Wendy's Country Market.

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