Mid December, we’d have our school Christmas Program. As I climbed the grades, I knew which teachers were the most clever when it came to planning out musical presentations and art projects (those were my very favorite hours of the day). I was observing all the details, mentally capturing what I hoped would be the best from them all for when I grew up and became a teacher.
I was really excited the year I reached fourth grade, as our new teacher was extremely creative in all she did. By early December, she sent home a note asking all of us to bring a flashlight to school. We couldn’t tell our parents what we needed it for; we could only mention that once our school Christmas program was over with, we’d bring it back home still in one piece and still working.
Our teacher had cut squares of crepe paper in bright red, blue and green. We were each assigned a color square and a rubber band; we fastened the sheets of color over our flashlights. During rehearsals, she mixed us up on the stage steps to arrange the colors until she had the color mix she was looking for. We practiced filing and climbing onto the six different levels of the stair-stepped platform until we could line up perfectly in place. Once stationary, our class members formed the simple triangle shape for our singing tree.
Mind you, we were nine year olds, walking and climbing steps while holding and balancing our own heavy, metal flashlights that were roughly nine to ten inches long and used size C or D batteries. The last thing any of us kids wanted to do was drop our lights on the head of the kid directly below our step position! The VERY last thing any of us wanted to experience was being the kid who felt a heavy whack on the head! Cautioned well about our responsibility, each of us grasped our flashlight very tightly, making sure we directed the bulb end toward the audience, while pushing the slide switches back and forth to make our tree blink on and off to the musical notes per her directions.
The big day arrived and we filed into the darkened auditorium, climbing onto the six different levels of the stair-stepped platform just as we had practiced. The piano began its intro and we sang and blinked our way through Oh, Tannenbaum!
Our teacher always believed we could pull this off so, therefore, we also believed. The overall effect was extremely captivating for those in the audience; did we ever delight our parents that year! As fourth graders, we were absolutely joyous and certain that no other singing Christmas tree ever looked or sounded lovelier!
“Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.”