October 19th, 2020

Setting the seasonal spirit

By Submitted Article on December 4, 2019.

It’s that time of year at our schools, one filled with joy, wonder and great anticipation – and in some cases, dread. It’s time for the annual Christmas concert!

It’s the school event of the year and one that sets the tone and gauges how the school is doing in many parents’ eyes. Whether it is a band concert, a play or a combination of both, the planning for this event begins many months (and at times a year) in advance. Some teachers approach the event with great vim and vigour, others with great trepidation. After all, in some instances, the teacher is judged by the quality of the Christmas concert. While parents eagerly await the opportunity to see their child performing their lines or song on stage, the school staff are spending countless hours making sure that the right play or songs are picked; the students have the parts they are suited to; that practices occur regularly; costumes are made; backdrops are ready; and then pray the flu bug does not hit early and on performance night!

In many schools practices began in late November and increase in frequency the closer to the day of the performance. The week before, there’s a flurry of activity and apprehension as students forget lines; lose costumes; get sick; or announce they are now leaving for holidays early and will not be able to perform. Through all this, the school staff and parent-volunteers power on, determined to give the “best show ever.” During practices, doubt creeps into the minds of the organizers, fear that the evening will be a disaster. Students are forgetting lines; missing the cues; won’t line up correctly; or the set looks wrong! Full of Christmas spirit – and some fear and trepidation – they continue to practise and guide the students forward to the big night.

The evening of the event arrives and all nerves are on edge. Staff are exhausted, students are nervous as everyone wants to put on the best performance ever. The seats fill up with excited parents and grandparents, all focusing on that one moment their child is on stage, the photo opportunity to capture the moment forever. The lights go down, the curtain rises and the performance begins. A few nervous students fumble a line or miss the exact spot to stand, but in the end the performance is amazing and every parent is proud their child was part of the best performance ever!

For the organizers, having every student show up, no one get sick on stage and the students leave smiling and feeling proud of their role is a great reward! In the end, as parents and teachers, we all want our children to succeed. More important is for children to have the opportunity to participate in this type of event.

Thank you to all the students, staff and parent-volunteers who make this very special night possible! We know it isn’t easy, but thank you for setting the spirit of the season and for giving each of us “The Best Show Ever!”

Dave Driscoll is Superintendent of Schools for Palliser Regional Schools.

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