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Alethea & Athena
Christmas Sunday 
21st-Dec-2014 03:23 pm
Today we had our Christmas sacrament meeting, and it despite all our anxiety, it went pretty well. The Primary kids hadn't really learned their songs, but I think people are mostly just happy to see them up there looking cute. When we walked into the chapel for pre-meeting choir practice, the bishopric was struggling with the song they were going to perform, so Bishop made some last minute recruitments, including his son singing bass and Athena singing alto. Also, they decided not to sing a cappella after all, so I got recruited to play the piano.

But I was mostly worried about the choir number, because I have page-turning anxiety, and because there were a lot of cords played in succession during the last verse. By the time the choir finally performed, I was shaking so badly that the girl sitting next to the piano (she is in the choir, but she wasn't feeling well, so she didn't sing; nevertheless, she had a spot on the program as a piano soloist, and her mom wouldn't let her out of it (but she did go right home after the meeting)) could see it.

It wasn't over yet, though! There was a sort of last minute, sort of not last minute addition to the program. A pair of sisters had been asked to sing "Mary's Lullaby" (or had been asked to sing something and chose that one themselves), and somehow that didn't make it onto the program. So right before the meeting they asked the bishop if they were still expected to sing it, and the bishop said sure, and fit them in at the end. Then they got up to sing and looked at me like, "You're accompanying us, right?" Fortunately, I had played it a few times before, when playing prelude music for Primary events like baptisms and stuff. Athena told me later that the sisters' mother had said to her (Athena), "My daughter's on her way. It's 'Mary's Lullaby.' Does she know it?" "Um, I think maybe?" "But she's at least heard it, right?" But Athena never got a chance during the meeting to suggest to me that I was expected to play. We'd heard that that family was notorious for asking accompanists at the last minute, but wow. That's hardcore last minute.

It turned out pretty well, and the sisters sang beautifully. There were also three piano solos by the Primary girls who are learning piano, and a song that was accompanied by their piano teacher (sung by the piano teacher's husband). So we had a lot of nice music, with some reading of scripture passages.

Then it was time to teach Primary, which is always an interesting experience. The lesson was supposed to be on how giving is better than receiving, and if you don't have money, you can give acts of service. But as soon as we mentioned the idea of gifts, the kids all started thinking about Santa and no other messages would reach them. (Athena and I ended up team teaching, because my class was combined with the Sunbeams, and none of Athena's students had shown up.) We had an activity where we gave them cards and instructed them to draw something nice that they were going to do for a family member for Christmas...and most of them drew pictures of what they wanted from Santa.

So we're still trying to figure out how to convey messages in a way that the kids will process them. Maybe someday we'll have it figured out. Right now our best idea is to team teach all our lessons, and present them in the format of a stage musical. But that might require some song-writing and/or choreography, and we're not sure we have time for that kind of effort.

Today I'm thankful for the lovely sacrament meeting we had, the kids at least not being entirely unmanageable during the lesson (they liked acting out stories, but then they all wanted the same part), the Christmas tree ornaments we got as gifts from the Primary presidency, getting a ride home from church (we stayed late for tithing settlement, and our regular ride went home to take care of her sick daughter), and the Buzzfeed "I Wish I Could Be A Disney Princess" song.
22nd-Dec-2014 03:40 am (UTC)
Merry Christmas to you both. ♥

I have not acccompanied anyone for many years; in fact, I think the last time I did was during a concert when I was ten (!), about 50 years ago. But I can remember how much I was shaking, especially my hands, and how afraid I was that I would mess up. I believe I had someone else to turn the pages for me. I admire you for doing it every week, and having to do it with no notice takes immense courage. So ta-dah for you! As my mother used to tell me, "Most likely, no one will realize it if you mess up, except for you, me, and your teacher! The rest of the audience will think you're doing just fine."

I used to teach Sunday School way back in the day, once when I was in my early 20's (first grade), and once when my daughter was really little (I didn't want her to have to stay at the church alone, so I took an older group which was fourth grade). This time of year, the kids are so wound up and focused on what they want for Christmas that I think it's hard to get the concept of the importance of giving to them. When they're a bit older, I think it's easier to convey. But kudos to you for trying. You may have made more of an impression than you realize.

And again, I go "blah, blah, blah". I reiterate that I hope you both have a wonderful Christmas, and that extends to Page and your family as well. ♥

22nd-Dec-2014 09:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Happy holidays to you, too!

And thanks again! I think your mother is right--most people won't notice if I hit the wrong keys. Page turning is another matter entirely, though, because when practicing, I'd have times where it was just a matter of having to pause for a second or two while I figure out where I am, but I've also had times where I've turned too many pages, or had the music fall over, and that's not only going to make me look bad, it's going to slow down everyone else. Many times I have wished for a page turner...

You're right, now that you mention it. The joy of giving is something most people don't figure out until they're older. So hopefully when the holidays are over and the excitement has ebbed, they'll at least get to a point where they can listen to instructions...

Hahaha, we love it. No need to rein in the blah blah blahing on our account!
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