As a grownup, when we look back on our childhood memories, many of them are snapshots of emotion and colour, the visible details a little bit blurred, and they represent either a really major event, or a summary of many events. This year we’ve had a couple things that I have stopped to hope that this moment will be remembered forever. One of them was last Saturday morning at the Gardners that started as a piano lesson and went all the way to lunch. Another one was tonight.
Last year we decided not to have a Christmas recital because it felt like packing too much into an already crowded month. Last month Amiee informed me after her daughter’s piano lesson that we would be having a Christmas recital, that it would be a her place. Before December rolled around we had a date on the calendar and each of my students was learning a holiday piece.
Each child chose a piece fitting with his or her own family’s holiday celebrations, ranging from “the Dreidle Song” to “With Wondering Awe” to “Jolly Old Saint Nicholas” and while not everyone was able to attend (it being the middle of Hannukah and two days before Christmas…) everyone had something festive prepared for the grandparents.
It was 5:30 when we all arrived. Of course I had planned on being there a few minutes early to help set up and to greet people as they arrived but of course that didn’t happen. No matter that I didn’t arrive early, Amiee had her home so beautifully prepared for us — she is such a gracious hostess — everything was perfect.
The children were their charming selves, the parents happy and supportive. For those children who had played at the May recital everyone was amazed to hear the progress in their playing. For those children who are new to the group everyone was impressed with how much those students could already play after such a short time.
We all pitched in for pizza and had a lovely time chatting and getting to know each other better. Children from different schools banded together as though they had always known each other.
When we were all satieted we bundled up, and with the song sheets we’d created earlier with the words to the songs the children had performed, we set out to carol around the neighbourhood. Many of the children had never done so before, and I honestly can’t remember how long it’s been since I’ve gone carolling, either. We had such a wonderful time. The children were charming and enthusiastic, we were all surprisingly in tune. We brought surprised joy to many people. At the home of some friends of a couple of the mothers in the group we were not only invited in to sing to all the party-goers, but begged for more “after I get my camera” and a couple of children even sat at their piano to play their tunes as we sang along. Their house was perfectly adorned, they and their guests were such attentive audience members, and it was one of those moments I hope the children remember when they’re old. They may not remember that house, but if they don’t, they’ll probably remember the thank you cookies they received from another house, or they’ll remember playing chase from one brightly decorated house to the next. Either way, everyone went home happy, and many of us will remember this for years to come.
If I have my way this’ll be a concrete memory, because I hereby declare this to be my new tradition. Each year my piano students will learn to play a holiday song of their choice (but with my guidance so that there aren’t many duplicates) and following the recital we will carol those songs through the neighbourhood.
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.
(flowers from some of the parents for me — I am so spoiled!)