The Annual Christmas Concert Ritual


Christmas concertWhen the announcement came again this year, I promptly proclaimed that I would not go. “Not again” I said trying to be nice about it “not again this year.” But everyone knew I would go anyway.
It’s the same every year. It has probably been this way since I was a kid too.

I am willing to bet that my mom never wanted to sit through any of my Christmas concerts either. (Or those of my siblings, who of course were far less talented musically then I.) But she did it every year, as far a I can remember.

music report cardBesides, my kids promised me it would not suck like last year. Don’t get me wrong. My kids are all very talented musicians. And I don’t say this as some proud parent, but by the fact that they can play several different instruments with grace and style, as well as the A* they seem to always get on every report card. Well, at least in music anyway,

I asked my kids if they couldn’t just perform it at home, but of course as they were playing with a band, they said it wouldn’t be the same. I knew this to be true, and it’s all about them performing live anyway. So by the day of the concert I (as always) relented.
My wife came home early and we braced ourselves with 2 large glasses of Cabernet each before venturing over to the school. We arrived 15 minutes late, hoping we might miss the first few really awful acts which they usually always put on first.
We were slightly daunted by the fact that it was only, as my excited kid told me, “just about to start, you didn’t miss anything.”

Now, I have heard these boys play guitar, keyboards and saxophone many times at home. In fact I sometimes think that besides skateboarding, music is all they do. And it’s not like I, as the perfect role model, can say “You have to do other things, I know from experience.” They know I played in bands, they know I am a dj. And I turned out all right (or so they think.)

noiseSo I had no doubt that they would play well. And I was sure that there would be one or 2 other very talented kids there too. But the sheer number of really bad musicians allowed to perform took me by surprise, just like it does, every single year. Someone, the parents if not the teachers, should tell some of these kids to study art instead of music.

It was a very long concert. Many times I threatened to get up and leave. But you know you simply can’t get away with that. (See exception – option 6 below.)
And so in the interest of helping any parent that has to sit through one of these, I have come up with some options of things to do when an A minor falls to a B flat.

1) Play with your cell phone. Find out all the games you have on there, explore all the settings. Count the number of aps. But remember to keep it on silent.
2) Look up at the ceiling and count the tiles, beams or wooden planks. Imagine it caving in and everyone running for the exits.
3) Do isometric exercises, but nothing too obvious, that might be embarrassing.
4) Scan the crowd and look for which parents are squirming during the really awful performances.
5) If you have a program, count the number of words in it, then read it backwards. Then try it upside down.
6) If you see the opportunity, act like you are getting a drink of water or going to the bathroom. Then you can take a short walk to the nearest pub.

ipodIf you are really smart, you will prepare in advance. Wear a loose-fitting hoodie, and set up your iPod inside. That way you can relax to whatever music you like until your kid comes on. Or if you are a female with long hair, let your hair down. It will hide discreet earplugs. And as an added treat, fill a plastic coke bottle with red wine before setting out. Just make sure the head teacher doesn’t catch you drinking at school.

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