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 donations were voluntary, we always got contributions. They were used to maintain our treasured Skinner pipe organ and for our 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. We had a great archive of music from past Christmas concerts. We considered that physical CDs and DVDs have a certain appeal. They can be given as gifts. That makes them feel more grounded than clicking around in cyberspace, even though great music is certainly available that way.
We decided on “A Christmas Quilt” for our theme – Something warm and cozy you can wrap up in while social distancing at home, maybe with a favorite drink by a fire. The quilt idea worked for the diversity we wanted to include and DVD slideshow images could be used 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 and more. Photos of snowy landscape paintings created by the father of a church member also seemed perfect. We added in some charming public domain art, photos of 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 live concert series had ordered blanks to print stick-on disk labels. The blanks 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 would be fine. But the talented and generous Concert Committee member who had carefully aligned our quilt image on the disk 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 blanks with smaller holes 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 town on a cold 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.