Being able to participate in such programs can be very rewarding. I can remember back when I was in the sixth grade that I had a wonderful opportunity to take part in the annual school Christmas program. My teacher was the one who directed the program. Only the seventh- and eighth-grade students were in it.
My teacher, however, asked me to be in it as well. Being the only sixth-grader in it made me feel very special. We entered the auditorium in a lengthy line singing “Oh Come All Ye Faithful.” Because I was the shortest of the singers, I got to lead the line and start the song. Every time I hear that carol now I remember how it felt to be the “lead” singer.
In high school, I remember singing the “Hallelujah Chorus.” We had to memorize our parts, which was very hard for me, but to this day I can remember that alto part.
Church Christmas plays over the past years stand out in my memory. It seems that no matter how badly the rehearsals went, on the night of the performance, we were blessed with Christmas magic and the program went well.
I can remember one time when someone at our church was directing a play. We were at our last rehearsal and half the cast members were not there, the others didn’t know their lines and the music left much to be desired. I came away that night thinking that it would never happen, but the following night the cast did a wonderful job of portraying the Christmas message.
Another time, I was directing a Christmas play and everyone was learning their parts well. I had one short line to say in one of the scenes. I had read it over and over as we practiced, but when it came time for me to say my line I realized how difficult it was to remember your part. Maybe I needed some of that Christmas magic for myself.
We are so fortunate in this area to have a variety of Christmas programs to attend. The Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association started it off this year with Jonesborough’s churches coming together for a night of choirs and fellowship. It was a wonderful event and got the Christmas season started off well.
Milligan College had a great community concert that showcased the great musical talents of its students. Likewise, East Tennessee State University has many seasonal concerts featuring students from its music department. Theater companies in our area also put on wonderful productions during the holidays.
Whether it is a live nativity scene at your church, a children’s Christmas play or choir, a college or university program, or the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra, all of them take much time, practice and challenging work. Let’s hope we will always have the arts in our schools so that students can be taught the beauty of drama, music and art.
Let’s also hope that everyone will make a special effort to attend these drama and music programs that are available for us. Enjoy the magic of Christmas.
Bonnie Simmerman of Jonesborough is a retired elementary school teacher. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.