Tuesday, December 18, 2012

God Rest Ye, Uptight Gentleman

"Everyone who wants musicals are children in different ways." -Andrew Lloyd Weber

We should consider ourselves blessed. After all, only one church congregation could claim Andrew Lloyd Weber as a member. That's right. The acclaimed composer of Phantom, Cats, and Evita, among others, is now focusing on the smaller stage. The MUCH smaller stage: Christmas pageants.

This is Andrew Lloyd Weber
For the second year in a row, Mr. Weber graciously volunteered his talents and ran our church's pageant. What are the odds, right? Adding to our good fortune, My Director and I were able to see the genius at work since Peanut was a member of the angel choir both years. Double bonus.

Of course, Mr. Weber's involvement totally justifies the four hours - FOUR HOURS - we spent at church one Sunday, including the service. Still, I submit the only people who should be spending that much time at church on Sundays are clergy. What Mr. Weber doesn't realize is we've got other things to do. You see, he can't be bothered wasting his time with such trivial pursuits as food shopping, walking the dog, feeding children, and spending part of your Sunday relaxing and watching football. Why would he? A genius doesn't concern himself with such things. We should be honored to have him produce and direct our little show.

He composes masterpieces
And how dare we question him when he handed Peanut and the other five year-old angels a hymnal on the first day of practice to make sure they learned the song they had to sing? These girls are just learning to read basic words. They can't read song lyrics, let alone music, let alone HOLD A BOOK AND SING FROM IT. But who am I to question Master Weber?

As he works his magic, some of the other children are running amok. They're allowed to because they are the offspring of the more "involved" church parents. You know, the ones who organize the coffee hour and set the Sunday school curriculum? That gives their little cherubs free reign to scream and run and act like maniacs in the sanctuary, making that description of the room quite ironic.

When you have Andrew Lloyd Weber direct your pageant, you're also giving him permission to yell at your children for inexcusable infractions such as missing their cues, forgetting their lines, and not speaking loudly enough when delivering those lines. Not to be outdone, the organist made the incredibly gifted little girl with the amazing voice cry because she forgot one of her lines during her solo. This isn't fun to Mr. Weber. This is theater. And theater is life.

He can't stand imperfection
Seriously, we're going to make kids cry? For a Christmas pageant? We're going to yell at them for being kids? While you keep them for HOURS practicing a 10-minute skit? They wanted to do this. They volunteered. It's supposed to be FUN. I still have no idea why Peanut - who was singing one song in a choir - needed to stand up there with her fellow angels for two hours during practice as every other kid who inevitably forgot his or her line or didn't project his or her voice loud enough was scolded, corrected, and forced to repeat it the right way. At one point, she complained that her legs hurt from standing. That's when we made an excuse to Master Weber and pulled her out of there. Luckily, she wasn't pulled from the production for skipping out early.

YOU need to remember your lines.
(This picture was too awesome not to include.)
This is church. This is Christmas. This is supposed to be festive and instructive. Most important, we're supposed to be instilling in our children a love of church and God during this holy time of year. We're doing the opposite by behaving this way towards them, by setting this example. Where's Loretta Switt when you need her? Instead, we got Mr. Weber on steroids.

I know Peanut will want to do the pageant again next year. She won't remember the torturous, unnecessary rehearsals. I won't remind her, either. I know Master Weber really is well-intentioned, but it just annoys me. Maybe I'll just have to get involved myself next year. Perish the thought. Either way, it's all worth it in the end, for this:

"Show me stink face, Angel #1"
File this one under "The 7th Rant of Christmas." To read the previous six, you can start here and work backwards. 


  1. Oh my gosh, as someone who has a hand in doing the music for the Christmas pageant at our church, this is awesome!!!

    1. :-) He took his job very seriously. The pageant was great...but at what cost?

  2. Replies
    1. Very. I couldn't stand to stay for the rehearsals. I had to go "run errands."

  3. I love stink faces!

    1. Who doesn't, really? Especially when they're good-natured.


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