Spirit of Christmas Past (1992, to be exact)

A day or two after the Holiday Concert in 1992 (my Junior year of high school), I came into choir to find a VHS tape on my chair. Someone had given me a copy of the jazz band, concert choir, and wind ensemble performances from the concert β€” all of which I had performed in, and in one of which I’d had a solo. It’s obviously a copy of Mrs. Albrecht’s tape β€” she was the mom who was at every single performance with her giant late 80’s / early 90’s VHS camcorder. I’m sure someone else must have been taping, too, but they wouldn’t have focused in on the red-headed bass so often. πŸ™‚

This video brought back so many great memories of high school. I’d forgotten I had any, honestly; when I think of high school, I think of my being a misfit of sorts. Watching this reminded me of what a great time I had in choir and band, and the great relationships (if not quite friendships) I had with my classmates. Fun times were had, like taking Geometry with the choir president, who claimed he knew a hit man who would break our teacher’s leg if we could collect a certain amount of money from everyone in the class. But I digress.

As I reviewed this tape, I also remembered every note and almost every word of every song. As I watched Ms. Beall cue the choir’s first note, I found myself singing along, accents and all: “GLO – RY to God in the hi-igh-eeeestβ€”” She was a great director, especially considering that she had to accompany at the same time. (I’m sure she still is a great director, too, although these days she’s directing the junior high kiddies.)

The first thing I noticed while watching my solo (bookmarked in the above embedded video β€” just hit Play to hear my, um, glorious voice) is that the camera really does add ten pounds. As does that damnable outfit β€” mainly the cummerbund. When I was sixteen, I weighed about twenty pounds less than I do today, as I recall, although you’d never know it from this video.

The next thing I noticed was how nervous I was. It was funny: I hadn’t watched this video for years before digitizing it yesterday. Still, as I watched my younger self descend the risers and take her place in front of the microphone, my heart started to pound and my breath quickened with the memory of my nerves. It had definitely shown in my voice, too, as my normally smooth vibrato morphed into a nervous tremolo, and any semblance of breath support whooshed away with every quick catch-breath.

After not having seriously sung for so long, I’m taken aback by how mature I tried to sound at age sixteen. I’ve been known to sing to myself every now and then these days, and I don’t even have that dark and mature of a sound now (unless I’m being silly and singing all “looly-loo,” as Aaron puts it). To my ear, so many years later, it sounds a little forced. Overall, though, not bad for a high-schooler.

I won’t subject you to the jazz band or the wind ensemble. The memories are fun, but the music is painful. Especially the one *really* wrong note from the saxophones in the middle of Russian Christmas Music. The entire jazz band performance is pretty painful, too, come to think of it. (Remind me later to tell you about Ryan Galmarini, our drummer, aka Eternal Freshman. Priceless stuff. Jazz band rehearsals were awesome.)

I never found out exactly why I was given a copy of the performance, or by whom, or if anyone else was given a copy, too. I’m grateful either way, though, because this is the only visual record I have of myself performing with any of my high school ensembles.

Hope you enjoy. Happy Christmahanukwanzakah!

PS – For the music geeks in the crowd, here’s links to the specific songs in the concert:

“Be Not Afraid” β€” Jacobson/Lojeski
  Bass feature: Bill Coersmeyer and Matthew Albrecht
  Women’s trio: Jenny Waddle, Diana Cook, Cheri Burdell, and Amy Gumm
“Pat A Pam” β€” Simeone
  Flute soloist: Melody Marco
“Christmas Hymn” β€” Baker/Jungst
  Echo chamber group:Jennifer Waddle, May Ying Thao, Cheri Burdell, Brian Murawski
  Conducted by Bill Coersmeyer
“I Wonder As I Wander” β€” Niles
  Soloist: Diana Cook
“December Child” β€” Moline/Hayward
  Soprano duet #1: Jennifer Reisner and Elise Bond
  Soprano duet #2: May Ying Thao and Amy Thao
“Twelve Days After Christmas” β€” Silver

One thought on “Spirit of Christmas Past (1992, to be exact)

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  1. Brava, Di! Thanks for the bit of Christmas cheer! Now I gotta hunt down the tapes from my past concerts! The father of one of my classmates is our realator – he may still have it.