I was six years old when I had my first Christmas concert. Of course, in preschool, I'd done things for Christmas, but I don't remember there ever being music. When I got to kindergarten, however, that changed. I found myself standing in a line with the other seven kids in my class, learning the parts we were going to sing. The song had to do with the spelling of Christmas, and each letter represented something seasonal. I remember asking my mom, who was my teacher at the time, if my part could be with the letter C, simply because my name started with the same letter.
The next year, I auditioned for my first solo. I went to the teacher who was leading the concert and sang as well as my seven-year-old self could. The next week, my teacher told us who had gotten the parts, and I held my breath. My teacher had us clap for the other people who had gotten solo parts in other classes, and I'm told that when she read my name, I had the biggest smile on my face. Things continued in this manner for the next three years. Second, third, fourth grade Christmas Concerts were relatively similar. I tried out for parts, practiced them over and over again, listened to the songs while doing school work and kept memorizing.
But then, in fifth grade, things changed. At the school I went to, fifth and sixth graders weren't in choir. Instead, I spent my time learning how to play the flute well enough so I wouldn't horribly embarrass myself. Even so, me and a couple of my friends had been asked to participate in the skits that went between songs. The story went something like this- two sisters and their brother are at their grandparents house. While there, they learn stories of their family and, of course, the Christmas story. This was one of my favorite memories because it's yet another moment when I was doing what I love- acting and making people laugh.
Sixth, seven, eighth, and on through high school were all similar in Christmas Concerts. I joined the older choir in sixth grade, and happened to be the only one my age who did. In seventh and eighth grade I continued with this choir and the concerts were relatively similar. A few mishaps along the way, a few solo tryouts in the music closet due to a random bout of stage fright, but the concerts themselves were the same.
My freshman and sophomore years were at a school with a music teacher who took the Christmas concert incredibly seriously. We spent months working on the songs, and on the night of my Freshman year concert I remember feeling very proud of the effort and the response we received. The same feeling returned my Sophomore year, and even though the two concerts were similar, the feeling was it's own thing in itself. When I changed schools for the remaining half of my high school career, I once again joined choir. I wrote about my thoughts and feelings around my Junior year concert last December, but the feeling of being proud was still there. This year, however, was different. Don't get me wrong, I was still proud of myself and the choir as a whole, but the concert itself felt different. After thinking about it for a few days, I realized why- this was my last Christmas concert.
As of right now, I don't plan on being in a choir when I go to college. I have a feeling I'll be too busy with other things, and while I intend to surround myself with music and theatre, I don't think choir is one of the ways I'll do that. So when I walked off the stage in my black choir dress, I got this feeling of "that's the last time I'll do that. I won't have another Christmas concert again." My six year old self, in all her joy and excitement for her first Christmas concert, joined with my eighteen year old self, in all her anticipation for what's coming next but still excited to be doing what she was doing.
I'm happy for all the Christmas Concerts I've been a part of. I'm thankful for the solos I've song, the groups I've been a part of, and all the people I've met along the way. While this may seem like a simple Christmas tradition, it's been a big part of my life up until now. It's one of those happy memories that I have, and hopefully I will never forget anything about it.