Over the last few weeks I have been busy with rehearsals for a Christmas concert which my mother-in-law and I were organising as a fundraiser for the charities that our church is supporting this year – Mercy Ships and Friends of Vellore. In my pre-baby days, I loved doing am-dram and performing but with two small children and a husband who works very unpredictable hours, committing to a rehearsal schedule for a show is pretty much impossible. Organising concerts and arranging for rehearsals to take place at my house (or after the church service on a Sunday) means that I still get the opportunity to perform whilst fundraising for charities too.
Our Christmas concert was titled ‘A Little Christmas’ after its opening number ‘We Need A Little Christmas’ which is from the musical ‘Mame’. My mother-in-law is a self-described ‘Rutter nutter’ so we had several John Rutter Christmas songs including ‘Sans Day Carol’, ‘Angels’ Carol’, ‘Christmas Lullaby’ and my favourite ‘I Wish You Christmas’. With this year being the centenary of the start of WW1 we also included a couple of pieces related to this: ‘Belleau Wood’ which is a song about the Christmas Day truce and the reading ‘A Christmas Prayer from the Trenches’.
One thing I particularly love about the Christmas concert is that there is something for everyone to be able to be involved in – opportunities for solos and duets for the singers, plus readings and dialogues for those who are more confident with speaking than with singing.
Hubby and I performed a duet together – a Hoagy Carmichael song that I discovered whilst looking for Christmas music this year called ‘My Christmas Song For You’. I also sung ‘Christmas Lullaby’ from ‘Songs for a New World’ as a solo and sang ‘Angels’ Carol’ as a duet with my mother-in-law.
The concerts can be quite a family affair as hubby’s dad and aunt were also taking part. Sophie and Jessica often end up on stage at some point too. With my childcare arrangements having fallen through, the rehearsal before the concert was mostly done with Sophie in the wrap on my back whilst Jessica played with toys on the floor, occasionally wandering up on stage to join in. With the concert being in the afternoon, it wasn’t too much of a problem having the girls around and thankfully one of my friends from church was able to watch them during the concert (although Sophie didn’t want to be parted from Mummy at first and I ended up carrying her on stage for the first two numbers!) They also both enjoyed getting to have a play on the church piano!
Jessica was quite happy on the whole to sit and watch the concert and I had the best compliment ever when I came off stage in the interval to be greeted by my little girl and told ‘lovely singing, Mummy!’
It was a bit of a shame that our audience numbers were quite low (often the case though with the Christmas concert as everyone is so busy this time of year) but we managed to raise £208 for the charities which we were happy about.