“O holy night…” the songstress crooned for all to hear at the local Christmas show. Ahhh, the Christmas show… it brings back memories. This time, I’ll bring back some memories that belong to others and that should be shared.
She sang until no one could criticize, everyone knowing that it was a song beyond her abilities and vocal cords. No one really knew that this song, written a long time ago by a great master in the music industry, could still stir the hearts of those who heard it, sang by people of great passion, bringing tears to even the evilest of all dictators.
Yes, the same songs sung by little ones, bring out the same tears too. Above the hustle and bustle of others waiting for their child’s class to come onto the grand stage of the school, straining to hear the mere sound of your young’uns expressing their own passions for Christmas, hoping that your small camera can focus from that range, knowing that it is a memory that will last forever. This is Christmas pageant time.
The preparation for this great event seems to go to those with the greatest height. They get the envious job of stringing decorations on the strange ladder thing that goes up every school gymnasium. Even the baskets are prepared in all their glory. Somehow, the single microphone and amplifier make memories more memorable, since this is probably the only way to remember things clearly. Ahhh, even the goofiest moments make the concert and show fun, taking all those hours of practice away in a second. Why couldn’t he remember that he was a shepherd or an angle, you wonder for years to come.
I asked a few Elders how they managed back in their time and they told me…
Candies were scarce and really appreciated back in the ’50s. The dancing was good and so was the grand feast laid out by the Roman Catholic Church whose patriarch often stated that everyone’s a Catholic during Christmas feast time. The candy scramble in the snow was a particular favourite when flung from the back of a panel truck (the coolest truck ever made by International Harvester) by the Grey Nuns. And then it was off to the federal side, who had the panache to throw candies off the roof of the tallest building in town. All in all, it was a fun time.
It was basically the same for the ’70s… except we had rights as Native people living in Canada. This changed a lot of aspects of the traditional Christmas, with the focus of Christmas coming from the people at hand to those who lived in the communities. This was a crucial time of change, when young ones had this special time to impress their parents with all the pomp and artistry to make memories happen. With the Polaroid instamatic, it was a cinch.
Many memories are still captured in that format, a reminder of days gone by, a past reminisce of technology and our people. A blur of technological formats changing within a few decades, resulting in things that Steven Spielberg probably wished he had had as a kid.
Today, hi-def and the ability to put everything you did in the past 24 hours on DVD and post it around the globe, if you wish. But… nothing takes away that feeling when you see your kids on stage, singing their little hearts out or bashfully hiding behind the song sheet. You just can’t take that feeling out of your own production.
Today, I watch the kids and let me tell you, they’re a smart bunch. They can do things we never thought of back in the day. Memories last as long as you make them, but today, memories can be captured forever. Record your kids’ show…