When our sons were young, we took them to the Portland Symphony Orchestra’s performance of the Magic of Christmas a few times.
We dressed them up, brought them downtown in the evening’s cold of December to see the holiday decorations and the enormous tree in Monument Square, and held their hands in Merrill Auditorium while watching and listening.
My older son said he has no recollection.
“None?” I ask. “The Symphony’s music? The crazy hats and reindeer antlers they wore while playing Sleigh Ride? The 4-year old ballet dancers in leotards that brought out Santa’s sleigh at the end? (There is nothing cuter than 4-year old ballet dancers with little buns in their hair!) Really? Nothing?” I was incredulous.
“Nope,” he replied. “I can’t remember everything.”
I can’t remember everything?
Now that my sons are grown, since they can’t remember everything, I can only hope they remember the good feelings that the things we did for them brought in that moment so many years ago. If they don’t remember the actual events, I can only hope they remember the feeling.
Frank and I went to the Magic of Christmas with our friends this year. How the show has changed! Now it included the Windham Chamber Singers and an incredible illusionist. We had attended the Deering High School Christmas Concert earlier in the week which we think is just about the best thing….but when the PSO began to play, it took my breath away. Yes, they’re a lot different than high school. Hearing live classical music by talented musicians, especially Christmas music, transports me to a place far, far away. It can bring me to tears.
This year felt different to me, in a positive way. Maybe it’s my increased gratefulness of all things as I age; maybe it’s appreciating more what others bring to our society by means of beauty, color, music, warmth; maybe it’s my increased understanding of what community means.
When conductor Robert Moody paused to give tribute to the recent shooting of an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut and then said let us be the light, I could feel that the audience already held that thought before he even said it. I could feel such a sense from the audience of happiness to be right there, in such a beautiful, historical arena, among the people of their community at this most blessed time of year.
Collectively, the entire auditorium sang, laughed, clapped, paused amongst the bustle of our holidays for a few hours in the dark letting ourselves be swept away and dazzled. The audience was magical that night. Truly, I could feel the positive energy all around me.
Whatever we each brought to that auditorium to make us magic can only come from good; it can only come from letting us be the light.
Photo: Spring Point Light and Casco Bay, Maine