Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Two strikes

Two weeks ago, my mother and I went to church, very much looking forward to hearing and singing some Christmas music. We filed in and sat down, eagerly scanning our programs so see what songs were on the agenda. After a quick look, we were not happy. Not a single recognizable Christmas carol, just a bunch of what we supposed were Advent songs. Disappointed, we made a rash decision. We got up and left before the Prelude could begin, and went to brunch instead.

Last night, in a further attempt to simply hear some good Christmas music, we went to the holiday concert of a volunteer jazz band that partners with a local choral society. The concert is actually pretty big, and we trooped into the large auditorium, hopes high. Unfortunately we were soon disappointed.

The soloists were unimpressive and cheesy, the band plodded through the familiar tunes, and babies screamed throughout. The concert was to benefit the Salvation Army, and at one point two old ladies waved American flags across the stage while the audience was led through a rousing sing-a-long version of "Onward Christian Soldiers". We rolled our eyes so hard I'm surprised they didn't fall out of our heads. We contemplated skipping out while the audience was standing up, but decided to give it a few more minutes. We were sorry.

The coup de grace came next. Two midgets dressed as children rode tricycles out onto stage and attempted humor by singing an incredibly slow, painful, and four verse long version of "I'm Getting Nothing for Christmas". I am not joking. That did it.

We were out of there.

As we shivered our way out to the parking deck during intermission (along with about half of the audience, mind you), we couldn't help laughing at our bad luck. I felt kinda like Charlie Brown lamenting on the stage at the end of his special - "Isn't there anyone out there who can give me a good Christmas concert?" On the way home we took the scenic route - a slow drive down a street known for its beautiful old homes and the decorations that the inhabitants put up every year.

As we ooh-ed and aah-ed down the street, Christmas music blaring from the car stereo, we felt warm and content. Disastrous concert aside, sitting there with my mother in the car, cozy and listening to carols, I felt the spirit of the season wash over me.

Merry Christmas, everyone.


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