By Andy Beck
’Twas the month before Christmas, a busy time at school,
But so far I’d managed to maintain my cool.
With extra rehearsals, and concerts, and such,
I started to think, “Have I scheduled too much?
Nursing homes, rotaries, gigs at the mall—
I honestly hope we can handle them all!
There are costumes to alter, and props still to get,
And that’s not to mention, we still need a set.”
Now, being optimistic, I knew we’d get done,
But started to doubt it would be any fun.
It was a typical Friday, at 10:54
(My ten-minute planning, I wish I had more),
With lists all around me, and feeling quite stressed,
I sat down to get some “to-do” things addressed.
When out on the stage, I heard such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a large group of kids from my choir that year.
They weren’t on the risers, just gathered around,
And my instinct at first was to say, “Quiet down.”
But then, when I realized what they’d come here for,
I wasn’t so eager to scold anymore …
Without my instruction, or cues, or a thing,
Suddenly, all of them started to sing.
The altos were flatting, the sopranos were, too.
The very best boys were at home with the flu.
The tempo was dragging, the dynamics were worse,
And most had forgotten the words to the verse.
But despite all the errors, the wrong notes, and flaws,
This beautiful moment, it gave me a pause.
As every last student sang deep from the heart,
I saw very clearly that I’d done my part.
For what could be better than teaching the joy
And the power of music to each girl and boy?
Listening more gave my spirits a lift,
And I’ll always remember this meaningful gift.
Though I was the teacher, my students taught me,
Which may be the best Christmas gift there can be!
Andy Beck is the Director of Choral Publications at Alfred Music. A prolific composer and arranger, he has over 450 popular choral works, vocal resources, and children’s musicals currently in print, including the highly regarded method books Sing at First Sight, Foundations in Choral Sight Singing, and Vocalize! 45 Vocal Warm-Ups That Teach Technique.