No live Christmas concert this year. It was simply not safe.
Park Avenue Congregational Church’s (PACC’s) Christmas concert had been going on for 29 years now as a gift to the community. Even though contributions were voluntary, it always raised funds for the maintenance of our treasured Skinner pipe organ and music program. Doing something now seemed all the more important. Christmas music could bring light to this particularly dark season during a global pandemic.
So we two coproducers put our heads together. A virtual concert might work given we had a great archive of music from past Christmas concerts. CDs and DVDs have a certain appeal. They can be given as gifts. Attending to them feels more grounded than clicking around in cyberspace, even though great music is certainly available that way.
We decided on “A Christmas Quilt” for this virtual concert’s theme; something you could wrap up in while social distancing at home, maybe with a favorite drink by a fire. The quilt image worked for the diversity we wanted and DVD images could be substituted for quilt squares.
But would people send in enough photos? We needn’t have worried. Photos poured in; children making snow angels, pies being baked, Christmas trees and sheep (we needed sheep). There were photos of the church decorated for Christmas, of choir singing, of our music directors playing instruments. Snowy landscape paintings by the father of a church member seemed perfect. We also found charming public domain art, period Christmas cards and images of composers and their scores.
The practical logistics seemed to be coming together as well. Or so we thought.
The folks who do such a great job of printing posters and programs for our PACC Concert Series had ordered blanks to print stick-on disk labels for the CDs and DVDs. The forms they ordered had a large hole that would land plunk in the middle of the square quilt “logo” that was centered on the disk labels.
With orders still coming in and time slipping away, the coproducers declared the larger hole DVD labels to be fine. But the Concert Committee member who had designed the labels, responded (and I quote), “We can use the wide, gaping, cavernous, quilt-eating, big-hole labels if you want ;-). I’ll Just close my eyes ;-).”
A new supply of smaller hole disk label blanks arrived in time. We also had some of the large-hole labels printed just in case. The DVDs were proving quite popular. In the last few days before Christmas, we were still burning DVDs like crazy, and then Christmas eve was upon us.
I was very touched by the two who volunteered to hand deliver CDs and DVDs around our town on Christmas eve in the middle of a pandemic when they could have been at home with family. But I will also never forget that wonderful comment about the cavernous quilt-eating holes.