When we think of Christmas Concerts, we tend to think of two MCs standing at a podium, with a pile of papers and an arsenal of bad jokes – usually puns – mumbled into a microphone. Mrs. So-and-so’s class is announced. They will sing such-and-such. The class slowly files onto the stage. Mrs. So-and-so accompanies them onto the stage, straightens the rows, and generally fusses about. When Mrs. So-and-so has finally left the stage, the music plays. The children begin to sing along with the recording, including the original vocals that can often be heard over the general murmuring of the children. There are some awkward, predictable actions to accompany the lyrics. The song ends, and Mrs. So-and-so returns to the stage to usher the kids off. The next class must wait until they have left the stage, which takes a while. The dead air between performances may be nearly as long as the performances themselves… during which time the audience fidgets, look at their phones, or start conversations with parents sitting next to them.
Of course we all recognize that parents attend Christmas Concerts just to see their child perform. This is easily evidenced by concerts I have attended where the number of audience members in attendance has been cut nearly in half by the end of the concert, due to the large number of people who have gone home once their own children have performed.
WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS.
I have been involved in community theatre since I was a child. I’ve performed in countless dance and vocal recitals in addition to many, many, full-scale musicals – that people willingly PAID to see. I have witnessed first-hand the many valuable skills and lessons that a child can learn from being involved in such a production, and since beginning my teaching career I have tried to bring this approach to my school’s productions. What follows are my suggestions for taking your concert from (forgive the expression) drab to fab.
Let’s get those butts in seats. We’ll get them not only willing to stay for the whole show… but they’ll PAY for it too. (Now how’s that for a fundraising opportunity?)
As a final note before we get started – I’d like to challenge you to get out there and buy tickets to a local (preferably professional) theatre production before you start preparing your concert. While you’re enjoying the show, be mindful of those elements that make the show seem more professional and increase enjoyment for the audience. How many of those little touches could you bring to your school?
Stay tuned for Part 1: Organization & Logistics in my next post.
(Or download the full Christmas Concert Tips document here!)
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