December 10, 2004
26 Concerts total
As near as I can figure, I've been to 16 school Holiday concerts. We are in the killer years for Holiday concerts. For two years, our three daughters are in 3 different schools. This means that each year we must attend three concerts. This means that I have 10 to go. 10 more and then I don't have to go to any ever again. I figured this out last night at Megan's school concert, prompted by the lady next to us who was at her very first school concert. You could tell. She was accessorized and excited. She had her whole extended family with her and she had a digital camera, a film camera and her husband had the camcorder. Her family was similarly equipped. (When her kid finally came out there was so many flashing lights near us it was like hearing sweet five year old voices sing "What a wonderful world" in a Disco. Joe said he thought he was having a stroke.) The other give away that she was new to the school holiday concert circuit was that she thought she would be out of there in under an hour.
Joe scanned the program and called it. 90 minutes. He was wrong. It was 105, I knit almost half a sock. (Note: due to a bit of a yarn shortage, these two socks will be fraternal, rather than identical socks. I'm having a little emotional trouble with that, but trying to lighten up.)
School concerts can be brutal or they can be wonderful. Usually, there about 95 minutes of brutal, interspersed with the 5 minutes that your kid performs and about 5 minutes where magic happens. (Sometimes these two things happen at the same time, sometimes not. It's a crap shoot.) You know that thing where you are in a crowd, and something happens to sweep up everyone into a collective expression of joy? It's rare and spectacular.
Like, maybe you are at your kids holiday concert, and the Celtic club comes out (The Celtic club at Meg's school cracks me up. It's about 15 kids, all playing Celtic folk tunes on tin whistles, accompanied by fiddles. Out of the 15 kids I'd say that 3 of them have any sort of Celtic background. The rest of them are from really Celtic places like Sri Lanka, Jamaica, and Pakistan. It's Toronto's brilliant multiculturalism at it's finest, it does my heart good.) So the Celtic Club might come out, and they play "The Lilting Banshee" and pretty soon someone is tapping their feet. The tapping becomes a stomping, and the room begins to fill with the noise of the rhythm of The Lilting Banshee, and people are clapping and stomping and everyone's faces glow while we are all pulled together as a community, however briefly....and everyone forgets that they live in a big anonymous city and it feels more like a kitchen party with the fiddlers and just for a few moments you know that you all feel the same thing and that it's all going to be ok, because really, humanity has the same goals.
You know that feeling?
Last night? Last night was the EXACT OPPOSITE of that feeling.
Don't get me wrong. It had its moments. The 10 year old who was dressed as a tree with garlands of leaves strung around him? When he got to the part where he was supposed to drop his leaves (it was autumn) and he just about strangled himself with the leaves in an attempt to not miss his cue? I loved that kid.
When Meg's choir sang "Imagine" and "Happy Together"? Pretty good too. I'm just saying.... 10 more to go. (Note: if you were there last night? Your kid was good as well. )
When I got home I returned to my beloved latvian mitten....
It's getting there. It is here displayed against the very stripey goodness of the other mittens palm.
I'm delaying putting the tree up because the odds that I'm going to be able to continue to ignore the fact that Christmas is in 15 days will be nearly impossible with a 10 foot tree taking up most of the living room. I might be starting to freak out a little.
Gifts for knitters: Days 7,8,9 and 10 (I fell a little behind there)
Extremely cool personalized woven labels.
Note cards with pictures of yarn on it. If your knitter has to be writing instead of knitting at least put a picture of yarn on it.
Beautiful baskets from Peacecraft. Give your knitter a place to put yarn and projects while you do good in the world.
Rings with knitting on them, miraculously accomplished without it being lame or dorky. I'd totally wear the cable one. A good gift for the male knitter. (I think. Can't be too sure. I'm not promising.)
Posted by Stephanie at December 10, 2004 11:48 AM
I miss school concerts. Being in them, and going to them. My brother's tend to be not well timed for sisters trying to get there after work.
And I love love love the stripey goodness!
When are you going to give us your Christmas knitting to-do list?
Gah! I was first! I did it!
(One life goal completed...)
Those rings are really cool- great find. Love the Latvian mitten palm. I'm getting more and more tempted to make one and maybe put it in a shadowbox (it's going to be 80 degrees F today).
Ah, the memories of holiday concerts. I was in chorus only in the eighth grade. Our concert, and the rest of the chours class, was indefinitely put on hold when the director had personal stuff come up. We alternated between watching "The Sound of Music" and "West Side Story" for an entire semester with a substitute teacher. I hate those stupid Jets and their dance fighting.
I LOVE parts where everyone messes up. It's more real than the "desperately-rehearsed, mustn't make a mistake" bits.
This year, our grandsons have changed schools. The new school has a "parents only" policy. Why do they suppose grandparents were invented, if it wasn't so that they could go to school concerts?
Enjoy as much as you can of your concerts. When you become a Nana, "they" might revoke your privileges!
I'm betting that you will frog the sock.
Oh, how I don't miss school concerts, the boys went to a really small school and it was still never less than 90 mins of fun/torture!
You'd think that the older they get, the better they get - try imagining a bunch of white kids trying to sing scat like Ella Fitzgerald during "The Lady Is A Tramp" as the daughter's concert last year featured... 1) I have no idea why it's considered a holiday song and 2) that version was not scat, poop maybe, but not scat. Don't take my word for it, I heard many of the students in the chorus telling their parents that song wasn't jazz, it was the death throes of jazz...
The daughter exempted me from her holiday concert this year. I promised I wouldn't torture her with my calligraphy gathering this year. Although, it was agreed upon that next year, being senior year, I would make the sacrifice to attend the final concert.
Okay, now I KNOW we are friends separated by distance only. I just figured out this week that I have been to 31 (possibly 33, but I can't remember) school concerts. Tues was #31, where instead of introuding the "Holiday Hand Jive" the flustered music teacher introdued the "Holiday Hand Job" (no I am NOT kidding). It was the highlight of the show for me. She tried to correct herself...but just kept saying it. Priceless, absolutely priceless. I took knitting, but some twit turned out all the auditorium lights. Still, the hand job made up for it. ;) L PS I still have a 3rd grader and 4th grader. I don't want to figure out how many more concerts I ahve to go to. Nor am I encouraging anyone to ever again join band or choir. If they choose to...okay fine I'll go. But never will I again say "Gee, wouldn't it be fun for you to...."
As a child who tormented my parents with concerts (and musicals) for 12 years I can totally sympathise.
Thanks for the link to the labels. I've been wondering when I can get them!!
Oh my God, my daughter's concert was last night too. I laughed so hard at your entry today that my husband had to come over and read it. He couldn't believe he was reading a knitting blog. The scene you described about the little boy trying to make his cue to lose his leaves had me in STITCHES (no pun intended). LeAnne
Fraternal socks are very cool. Quirky in a good way. Camper (brand) shoes have a fraternal line that is very cool and very pricey. It only makes sense to have fraternal socks as well.
Why do any really cool knitter gifts come from the States? Customs, duty, exchange.... what a drag. I like those rings.
I shudder in sympathy. Last year I announced that I would NOT go to hear my niece and nephew caterwauling Away in the Manger for the church Christmas pageant. Then my niece was asked to be Mary.
This year I am staying home. I may have to cut off my own leg but it would be worth it.
Hey! I totally love the striped inside! A little secret revealed there!
My kids are to young to have school conserts, but I still have nightmares about my own. (is that a migrene lurking?)
Last night was my kids' school concert, clocking in at one hour and forty five minutes (a farewell to the music teacher, who was moving after 17 years at the school, added 20 extra minutes to the proceedings). I was dying to knit during it, but chickened out, worrying that people would disapprove. When I think of how much progress I could have made!! Maybe next year...
You are hilarious! At least you could knit during the holiday performance...what was everyone else sitting there thinking, I wonder?! Probably something like "what do I need to buy at the grocery store?" or "kill me, kill me now" or something in between.
I've been watching your latvian glove progress. They look great :)
Have a great weekend.
Oh, and one more thing: My 8 year old daughter (who still loves the stuff I knit for her) has been after me ever since I started knitting to put labels in my creations, like Grandma always has. My mom has used them for years, and went from "Knit with Love by Mom" to "Knit with Love by Grandma" (we kids haven't gotten any Mom-knit stuff since the grandchildren started arriving).
Now I can order my own! Thanks!
Neither of my kids have concerts this year. :( I kind of miss the orchestra. Does Nutcracker count?
For me, I actually have a concert...I'm subbing for a preschool and the 2, 3, and 4 yr olds are singing next Friday. However no one in the class I'm subbing wants to sing, so guess who's voice will be heard? MINE!
I don't have the house clean the tree up or most of the presents bought let alone wrapped. I'm knitting socks for my mom and I've almost got both to the heel! So I figure I can get those done. I haven't begun to panic yet.
Funny, I always loved the concerts, however torturous. My husband, the trained musician, however, suffered horribly through every last minute, even our talented sons!
As for the rings, curse you! I want one so badly I would even be willing to (insert your guess here)! If they came in gold, I'd really be in trouble, but that might be the case, anyway. At least two shops here in Connecticut actually carry them!
Ha ha...great entry. And why is it the the parents of the kid with the least talent are the ones who clap/brag the loudest? I always think back to the movie "The Music Man" when the lady stands up and says "play to me son" as he horrendously warbles away on the horn. Such are the joys of parenthood.
Beautiful mitten, cool socks.
We had our school concert this morning. All the key people ie Mary, Joseph and Wisemen had non speaking parts. They did however, have an IT Dept, a Circus, Theatre, and at one point the wise men were accused of being terrorists. I'm not against current affairs or anything, but this was my FIVE year old son's christmas play. Terrorists? When I staggered into work and told one of my colleages, he shook his head and said 'IT Department? Why would they need a f***ing IT Department in Bethlehem? My thoughts entirely, only my swearing was much worse.
Sorry, I mean to say I covet your Latvian mittens they're just fab and so are the socks. And you never said how you got on with the power drill yesterday. Not that I'm being nosey or anything.
I hear you on the peak experiences at concerts thing. I remember a couple of choir concerts in very old churches that were just....something about the music and the location and the audience feedback just made me have faith in the good side of humankind again.
OK. I have to share this here because only knitters with color-challenged SOs will get this. As a direct result of a Latvian-style mitten I'm knitting, Matt, the man who epitomizes the t-shirt which reads "I'm only wearing black until they make something darker", the man who flat-out refuses to wear more than one color at once (unless said colors are indistinguishable from black), voluntarily and with absolutely no prodding from me At All, looked at the mitten in progress and said "wow. That's *really cool*. You know, if you make me a hat like that in black and red, I will wear it."
Oh, the memories. I think the 5th grade band concert, with the clarinet section playing all by themselves, and me searching frantically in the bottom on my handbag (because it was the only way I could disguise the look of horror on my face) that set the standard.
Your mittens are glorious.
Your Latvian mitten (even though I think the green and white just a teensy bit TOO cheerful) is so tenderly and cruelly beautiful that it makes me wistful. I so desperately want to knit one, and for Christmas no less!
Big sigh again!
I too tormented my parents with years of band concerts (I sing like I am tone-deaf so I learned how to play the flute.) They were always there and so polite about it- but I remember one year in high school I made it into the district honor band (best players from all the area schools) and my Dad came to the concert, and afterwards said "Wow, that was so good, almost professsional- wish they all could have been that way.." I laughed.
Your comment about the multi-cultural kids playing the tinwhistle made me hoot, because that's me! I'm a Mexican-American who learned tinwhistle when I was in Div school in Boston, and to this day when I go to sessions or tell people I play the tinwhistle they look at me weird....
Thanks for the damned locusts. Also had a school concert on Wednesday, the flutes were so out of tune during the Nutcracker, a sharp pain ran from behind my left eyes and into my clawlike wrist and hand. Plus the band teacher has a Sousa fixation (she was in the Army band), and she ends every fraggin concert with Stars and Stripes Forever.
While you got to play with power tools, I emptied out the girls' room and my son's cave, and had 15 LOADS OF LAUNDRY. I washed them all, but someone threw them all over the couch (have you seen my living room?) without folding them.
This morning I fixed myself a cup of calming camomile and lavender tea, and sat down to drool over Folk Knitting in Estonia.
IT'S GONE! While I was staying with my sick mother back in October somebody TURNED IT IN TO THE LIBRARY WITH THE OVERDUE BOOKS! Despite the fact that all library books are stamed Lincoln Library in several places and have numbers taped to the spine, someone threw it in the return mailbox. The library can't find it.
My heart's greatest desire at this moment is to be single, childless, and knocking back shots of tequila with Viggo Mortensen, Johnny Depp, and Ty Pennington (have you seen the back of his house?) on some sun-drunk Carribbean island far from this wet, cold, locust-plauged town in the Land of Lincoln.
Well, ya know, I thought I was done school concerts, too. But I had forgotten a little detail: The nephews.
Our high school choir gives a concert every year at my church during a five-day long exhibit we have with hundreds of creche scenes shared by the whole community from around the world--the whole church is essentially turned into a temporary museum (it looks gorgeous because they never ask me to volunteer with the decorating and setting-up.) And the best of the school's choirs comes to provide the music on Saturday night.
Last year the kid who lives across the street from us, giving it her best, tripped over a tall Christmas tree and brought it to the floor. In front of the steps, so it could really go down when it went down. LalaLAAAAAGH!
My son was in that choir this year. The child of the world's worst klutz. The decorating committee kept the tree far away this time.
Hey! Is it just me or is that the VERY first hint that the palm of the mitten was different from the front? I thought I was paying attention, but the stripes took me by surprise. I suspect you were being sneaky and springing it on us at the last minute.
School concerts limited to parents only?! My daughter's old school limited tickets due to space but made an initial allocation of up to 2 per child, then distributed the rest (you could request a number of extas but weren't guaranteed). this can make everyone happy. I gave teh grandparents the guaranteed tickets! Then we also got a spare one and I went too.
I always knit at the interminable band concerts, usually 2 or 3 a semester, each one longer, more crowded and often less tuneful than the one before. No one was disappointed about my knitting -- but several were envious. And my daughter got socks upon socks out of her musical career!
Christmas is in FIFTEEN DAYS? *heart attack*
oy...I am so right there with you. I have been to three so far this year and I have just one child left in high school. I was just having this conversation...with myself...a few days ago. I've averaged about 4 concerts per year since 1992..about 48 so far. I have two more Christmas concerts to attend and at least four more "special" concerts before he graduates in June. This along with his senior class fundraising; the largest event being the "December Delight" tomorrow. I'm tired. I'm dis-concerted. I'm grateful I stopped at three!
The best Scottish country dancer I ever knew, proper white satin ball gown avec hoop and tartan sash over her shoulder, was Japanese, and a member of the Tokyo Bluebell Scottish Country Dancers to boot. You have seen nothing until you've seen a Chinese (Singapore) pipe band in full kilted rig-out. Celtic gets around.
wow, I can't believe all the christmas concerts being held! I had no idea it was such a racket. I barely remember the ones that I participated in. I guess that it will all just come back and bite me on the butt when I have children.
I love the mittens! I'm just about ready to abandon all my Christmas presents on the go and start some! Musn't knit mittens.... musn't knit mittens....
Well, I had the extreme good fortune of missing the school concert last night. My 7 year-old son, while goofing around, hurt his toe so badly we thought for about an hour that it might be broken. This was just 1/2 an hour before he had to be there for the darn thing. Since he couldn't even put socks on, let alone walk around, we had to (not too sadly) miss it last night. (My daughter, 11, refuses to be in choirs anymore. Thank goodness, or else my husband and I might have had to arm-wrestle to see who would have to go!)
Anyway, the toe was not broken, but is very blue and tender today. I heard from several parents that the grade 8 band induces just as much ear bleeding as in the past, so I'm just as glad. We live right across the street from the school, and by the looks of the cars parked all over the road, it was at least 90 minutes long.
Oh, and I hear you about the fraternal socks! Those unmatched stripes can drive me insane. On only my second pair of self-striping socks (probably only my 3rd pair all together, so I was still a newbie) there was a break in the 2nd ball of yarn. And it was knotted so the striping pattern didn't continue properly. I hummed and hawed and debated, but decided to just continue, since I have large feet and I didn't want to be short some stupid amount, like a metre/yard. To this day, those are my last resort socks - like the last pair of clean undies you'll wear - the ones that have lost most of the zest in the elastic. Even though the stripes match at the ankles, and don't do their weird thing until half way down my foot, it still bugs the bejeesus out of me.
Yup, that was me last night, at my daughter's school concert, busily knitting away. I'm glad I brought it because I had to get there 45 minutes early just to "get a seat". What else does one do with all that waiting time? I finished half a Sophie bag knitting during the concert. Now I don't feel so guilty about bringing my knitting. Besides, I was so far away from the stage, I don't even think my daugher saw me or knew I was knitting.
As my children are homeschooling this year there are no concerts. Thank God. There could have been if the Girl was in a choir or something, but, blessedly, no. Whew!
COOL! I had no idea the Latvian mittens had a different design on the palm than on the back.
Two words: KAZOO BAND.
The minister made us stop halfway through "O Little Town of Bethlehem" because our parents were laughing so hard. He yelled at them, and told us to start from the begining. A far harsher punishment than they deserved...
Ah, school concerts, I've been to a few. The high school concerts are well worth my time. The middle school....well..not so much.
Each section could do 3 songs. My kids were in the band. They would play 3 songs. Then each and every section of the chorus would get up and they'd sing 3 MEDLEYS. Yes, a medley of every single song of the Sound of Music. Then a medley of every single song from West Side Story and then to quicken things up, THE HALLELUJIAH FREACKING CHORUS.
I'm in love with Latvia.
As to what Sandy said....SO TRUE. So, so very very true. I played flue in middle school (yes, I was a cool kid) in advanced band. We got a few songs per concert. It would go something like--advanced band (we got to play the school theme song thing), advanced choir's 8 hour long thing, beginning band, beginning choir, advanced choir, orchestra, choir....
I hated the choirs.
OK, y'all are pikers! I have sat through all my children's concerts[Thank God, they are out of school now] AND the ones at the elementary schools where I have taught the past 30+ years. AND at the ones at work I get to enjoy the concert with 20 first graders! I won't even count up the total -- too depressing. But my idea of hell is elementary school band and recorder students playing "Hot Cross Buns" repeatedly. There is no concert without this "delightful" tune. I have even gone so far as to tell my prinicpals that my first graders can't begin to sit that long so I don't have to attend the concert. (What, their siblings are in the concert? -- well they can come to the evening performance with their parents then!) Stephanie -- the treat in high school are the interimally(ok, I can't spell) long evening awards programs (sports, academic, etc. -- my children finally took pity on us and told us they could drive themselves there and we didn't have to come. God, I love those children of mine!) Anyway, console yourself that you only have to attend your children's concerts.
We had that magical moment last night too. It wasn't when either of our children were on, although they were good too. But they couldn't beat seeing 15 4 year olds singing The Beatles, 'Do You Want to Know a Secret?'.
i'd second the thought that the rings would be a good gift for a guy knitter. it's probably the first piece of knitting-themed jewelry i've seen that would be appropriate for a guy, which is nice.
yes, oh gawd yes.
But a word on the socks: I am of the school that promotes the infinite sock rationale:
Any handknit sock is a perfect match to any other handknit sock, no matter the pattern, yarn, or guage.
And all members of this school do find it that much easier to get dressed in the morning. Although I suspect that you would probably be part of the sub-group that puts their socks into tidy little rolls, just like you put the forks in the left slot of the drawer divider (No one will point at you as long as I'm around).
Well, all I can think of is the Homer Simpson quote when he's at the school concert, nudges Marge, and loudly whispers, "How many grades does this school -have-?"
I do know that feeling.
Would love a citation for the Lilting Banshee. My celtic musical knowledge is limited to 2 Chieftans CDs. DH had a former SO who was heavy into Irish Festivals and the like which has precluded him from introducing me to the same. So I don't know many Celts here in Red State land... Fraternal socks. sounds more self-actualized than "identical." I could get used to it.
PS: At first I thought you were going to 16 concerts THIS YEAR. (I had band AND choir concerts to go to for 2 kids....)
It's "collective effervescence," those moments where it all comes together, and an assembled community shares in such a foot-stomping experience.
Thank you, overpriced and underused liberal arts education.
The mittens look great.
Yarlot, you want to watch how you toss out a phrase like "a bit of a yarn shortage". You could start a stampede.
Ouch! This past week we have had our share of Cmas productions/events but no where near the amount of you. Next week also will prove challenging but I do enjoy it, all part of Christmas and the season. Ho ho ho! Bring my knitting? Heck no, I am one of those who still bring the camcorder ;)
Thanks for all the gift suggestions. Always love notecards and the rings are very cool!
I copied these replies to give to my daughter's band teacher, but I've decided to wait until after the concert. Holiday hand job might need a little digesting.
Dear Yarn Harlot -
in my contuing quest to be as amazing as The Harlot, I have destroyed my left hand... so I must ask the Oracle that is The Harlot - do you throw or pick - English or Continental? I throw, and it seems that this is the genesis of The Claw that is now my left hand. If you pick, did you start off that way or did you switch, and if you switched how long did it take to get consistent? You seem to knit incessantly. When I do, I am crippled for days. It is not helping me reach my Harloty goals in the least...any advice that you can toss in my direction in between knitting amazing mittens would be greatly appreciated...
Gailie, forgive me stepping in, but this is your mother speaking: When your hand is a claw, YOU STOP DOING WHATEVER YOU WERE DOING!!!!
Yes, I'm shouting, but repetitive stress injury should not be trifled with unless you crave surgery. If you rest it now, you may be able to avert further damage. Ice your wrists, eat black cherries (a good tip for trigger finger and may help with carpal tunnel; Yoplait makes a good black cherry yoghurt which worked with mine!), take anti-inflammatories, and stay off the computer!
You may have to approach knitting goddesshood very slowly!
Judith (who is not your mother but IS a fellow sufferer)
From someone that has one, the ring would be great for anyone :) It's 9mm wide and 2mm thick. I've worn it everyday for the past 5 months.
We have fortunely not had to many Christmas concerts to attend here. Because they don't want to take the time for the WHOLE school to participate only half the kids perform for the Christmas concert and it alternates years.
I would second the woven label company. Namemaker worked great for me. I would suggest it to anyone. Great service and products...
This is the first time in eleven years we won't be attending our public school concert. It's very liberating. It was never the same once they separated the kindergarden kids from the rest of the school. But I guess 300 plus adults in a small school gym can be considered a fire hazard.
Both my daughters are now in college, no more elementary/high school concerts for us! So what do we do? We drive 9 hours to see our daughter perform with her college choir!