It’s been several years since I’ve played Holy Infancy (of course, at the old school on 4th St.) for a Christmas concert. So, I signed up for this one, on an iffy, rainy/icy Monday. There was a chance of an early dismissal, but we rolled through this one.
I had thought that this was supposed to be a full school (prek -8) which I’ve done before, but, with a new principal, it turned out to be for my regular group of prek -2nd grade. My People! Though I prepared by hauling in my small sound system, I decided to go acoustic. I did spend some time talking/demonstrating the amp, guitar and mike. At the end, I was glad to have it around.
We did some standards, some of which are not standard for this ethnicity – Frosty, nope. That’s probably a good thing; it’s a commercial song. But I did get to sing Silent Night with these kids. We did Zat You, Santa Claus? to great effect, Rudolph, Jingle Bells, and Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
I had written a song for Holy Infancy – complete with sign language and I was able to bring it up as a new song for these kids. Thanks to my friends and teachers, we did some solid work learning this song. We were all highly engaged.
The kids had done a knock-out job on the day before (Sunday) at the church. The principal and other teachers were chatting about it while I was setting up. About a half hour in, I asked the kids if they wanted to sing some of those songs. Felice Navidad. So I got the 2nd graders to come on stage to teach it to me. With my rudimentary recollection, we played it for the other kids (and the teachers) in Spanish, English and Portuguese! It’s always great to have the kids lead.
As I wrapped up the session, I decided to play Mary Had a Baby, one that they had never heard but had an easy call-and-response. I thought it was time to dance so I got them all up on this very manageable space. As I started, I realized that it would be cool for the kids to be on stage with my amplified guitar. It turned out great (in spite of some kids dancing on the electric chord) and was a good way to channel the energy into a rocking Christmas folk song. Another surprising choice on the fly.
We settled back down for my “reflection” time with these kids. What songs did we sing? It was cool that a bunch of the kids offered Mary Had a Baby right away.
I was disappointed that I didn’t have a chance to play for the older kids, some of whom I had many years of connection, but, as it turned out, it was the right thing for today. (I don’t get paid for these anyway, and that’s way cool.)