The last time I was in a high school auditorium for a holiday concert was probably… when I was in high school! As I near the twenty year mark, it’s amazing how things come back to me as soon as I enter that kind of space. Except now they’re called Performing Arts Centers.
One of our babysitters is a senior now and my oldest absolutely thinks the world of her– so we decided to go see her perform. She’s in choir and also plays the trumpet. As we walked inside that holiday extravaganza this week, a few things came flooding back to me.
And other things were brand new. Factors that would have been so foreign twenty years ago.
One thing that hasn’t changed, the happy moms in their seats in their green and red skirts and vests, maybe a holiday sweater that would make Talbot’s proud fifteen years ago. The scent of Skin-So-Soft and Clinique’s Happy, or whatever gives off that same scent these days, is hanging in the air thanks to their always supportive presence. It gives you the most comforting feeling, because that smell hasn’t changed one bit.
From a comfortable memory to a creature comfort now– this was the one we could not have imagined twenty years ago. As I looked around before the performance I noticed person after person with their head toward their lap and their fingers quickly scrolling through their smartphones. If I would place that scene in my high school experience, we would all be weirded out by it. Today it’s so commonplace we don’t even think about it when we look out into a large seated crowd.
While I noticed that, I also wondered to myself: If we didn’t have our heads in our phones all the time, maybe we wouldn’t miss moments that should set off an alarm. Or moments where true joy is right in front of us.
A set of parents who were watching their senior perform for the last time at this event told me I was in for “a treat.” And my son and I truly were– 400 students in all involved in the choirs, bands, and orchestras. I don’t know how that project was managed, but they went through all the numbers seamlessly. They pulled the hat trick that I see has been passed around the country. The honor choir lines the aisles and sings. It captures your attention. And brings you into the moment. That moment on this night took me back to the high school where my mom taught years ago– and the beauty of O Holy Night. (And maybe a tremble of the lip and a few tears from me.)
Beyond the soft and precious melodies and the dramatic crescendos, you had the upbeat holiday classics. And the fun ones too. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer, for example. I told my 5 year old the name of that song when the Double Reed Ensemble played it, and this is what he said:
“That’s weird. So weird.”
Yes, it probably is to you Logan.
At the end of the night, my little guy turned into a true gentleman. He’d picked up a boquet of flowers to give to his sitter earlier in the day. We found her in the hallway in the mass of parents, choir robes, and screeching students. He bit his lip as she walked our way. And he then he shyly said:
“You did a good job out there.”
Even with the changes we’ve seen in this world, a couple things do remain the same.
A boy trying to impress a girl.
And holiday music that has lasted through time.
I’m so glad we walked into that auditorium.