(This is a horrible iPhone photo; obviously my sister-in-law got better shots, but I really just wanted to demonstrate how packed the place was. Also I shushed these three men twice during the performance. Just because you're at the back of the house or your kids sang already doesn't mean you can TALK during all the other performances!)
Last night we went to my niece and nephew's school Christmas pageant (they go to Catholic school, so they've definitely left Jesus in the holiday). Usually attendance at these pageants is incredibly high so we try to get there early so we can score a couple of seats, but it's been taking me more than an hour to get home, and last night was no exception. I couldn't leave early - I had to work on a project. When I finally got home at 6:25, we decided to walk, since we knew parking would be terrible. It was kind of fun, walking through our neighborhood in the dark, looking at the Christmas lights, together, making it across the Intersection of Death alive.
When we got there, all the seats were taken, and so we ended up standing behind a very nice man and his wife in the doorway to the church (the inside doorway). It turned out to be a great place to be, because we got to see both our niece and nephew make their entrances and exits. My nephew is younger, and when we saw him in his sporty red sweater and khaki pants, I almost didn't recognize him: he looked so serious, and (maybe) a little nervous. My niece, who is growing up, was of course more sophisticated, looked so pretty in her sophisticated black and white wrap dress, with her hair all shiny and perfect (my sister-in-law does a great job with her hair! I wish she'd do mine before work!). The school is K-8, and each class performs one song. They do it with a piano accompaniment, and a conductor, their music teacher. That guy does a great job, because all the performance were wonderful. Some of the song selections are better than others (I have to find out the name of the song my nephew's class did: it was rhythmic and interesting), but the kids are so cute. They get all dressed up and you can tell that for them all, it's a pretty exciting night. If this many people came a to flute choir concert, I would be super nervous and excited too (and I would think Improv Everywhere was punking us)!
We didn't have a program, so we had to guess at each class's grade and if it was our niece or nephew's turn (the little kids, of course, are the easiest) by going, "These kids look younger," or "These kids look older" but eagle eye Patrick spotted each of them first. My niece's class ended the concert (the kids don't perform in order of grade; they keep it interesting by mixing up the little kids with the bigger kids). She was in the front row, so even I, with my lousy vision, could sort of see. Her class did "Happy Christmas (War is Over)," and it was absolutely beautiful. Sometimes I think that's a sappy song, and sometimes I think it's an angry song, and sometimes I think John Lennon was a genius and sometimes I think he was fool, and a bunch of elementary school kids singing "War is over if you want it" in a Catholic church isn't going to change anything... but man, that line right there made me totally cry. The other classes joined in (after they perform, the kids take seats in the front rows and on the floor near the stage); they stood up where they were and faced the audience. I loved it. I think Patrick did too.
We were so proud, and I finally felt a bit of the Christmas spirit, which, I have to admit, has sort of been eluding me this year.