No sign of the Baby Jesus

Spent the evening in church.

Now there’s a phrase you won’t see here very often, but it was Boy 3 (of 3)’s primary school carol concert & service this evening, and I was the only one of his motley collection of parents in line to attend. On the drive down I reflected that this is the 17th year I have been doing this, and there is now just one more to go, after tonight.

These things have a tendency to be horribly familiar year after year, but this one wasn’t too bad: mercifully short, for one thing. There was a time, a few years ago, when the whole thing seemed to last for days, as one violin group after another scraped out 7 verses of Away in a Manger. Not a string ensemble in sight this evening and, with Boy 3 having recently given up the cello (phew!), I can’t say I missed it too much.

Highlights of the 50 minute extravaganza included a couple of nervous (but good) flautists, and songs from the Nativity Play (not the actual Nativity Play, you understand, just highlights – is this another symptom of our soundbite, ADD society?) by a collection of Primary 1 angels, shepherds, kings, soldiers and one little boy who, while possessing no sense of rhythm whatsoever, did appear to be dressed up to audition to be the next-but-one Dr Who.

There was also a fun rendition of "So Long, Farewell" (from The Sound of Music) by 7 "kids" from P7, to send off one of the senior teachers who is moving on to a new school. They did a pretty good job of the singing and of the choreography, but I was left a little disappointed by the fact that the entire congregation / audience did not spontaneously wave and sing the final "Good-byeeee", as in the movie. Now that would have made the whole thing really memorable.

(Actually, while most folk smile and swoon at the P1 Nativity efforts each year (well, they are cute), it is always the P7s who bring a little lump to my throat. They always have a go at something unusual and fun, and it’s genuinely great to see how confident they are, and how much they rule the roost. But there’s also the knowledge that they are about to become small fish in a large pond again, as they move into Secondary after the summer. Well, it’s an important lesson for life, I guess.)

And there was, of course, the usual astonishingly bad behaviour all round the Kirk – from the parents. I know that there’s a lot of us who don’t do the whole church thing nowadays, but I retain a forlorn hope that the majority of people attending this annual bash retain some knowledge of basic good manners. Sadly not. They wander about, trying to get the best angle for their latest video production of the whole event (on their phone – don’t get me started!), loudly hail friends and neighbours across the pews, and allow a gaggle of infant siblings to run around, unchecked throughout the proceedings. Unless, of course, their own precious snowflake is currently performing. It’s just rude, people. Either shut the hell up, or stay at home.

Incidentally, if I ever find out who it was that wrote Calypso Carol I will hunt him down and give him a sound thrashing with his own maracas.

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