Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmastime With Shack

At church yesterday this morning, I was set to sing “He’s Coming Back” but there was something in the air. Father Jeff seemed a little downcast, and I said to him, “Look, there’s this song that I wrote for a children’s musical. It’s a little simplistic, but I could make it into a little sing-along -- and it’s a happy “up” song!
I felt like I knew the lyric. All I had to do was remember that the “poles to the equator” bridge is first. Then, “forests of Westphalia,” second.

I performed it after the "Peace." That was Father Jeff’s idea, to do it right after the Peace instead of after the Gospel. And it was a perfect placement because the Peace is where everyone greets everyone else in the congregation and wishes them “peace.” So, it’s a more informal moment.

I have always been a bit uncomfortable when the congregation applauds after the song when it's placed before the sermon.

Another moment that was strange was when we were singing “Go Tell It On The Mountain.” The choir was just perfect. Then, they said for the congregation to sing it on their own -- and, almost nothing. It was either too early or they were just listening -- which could be the case, given how good this choir is.

So, when it was time for the Peace, everyone from the choir went into the house and all the congregants stood up and greeted each other. I drifted over to the piano, Fr. Jeff announced me -- “our resident composer, Steve Schalchlin.”

And, given the warm informality of the moment, I felt like I could really be myself. Before, the Gospel was read and I was between the Gospel and the sermon. A very sacred moment, really.
But this, everyone was calming down, talking to each other, having a little fun, and I said, “This is from a children’s musical I wrote, and it has a little sing-along. So, sing this...”

I stumbled a bit at the opening since I hadn't planned on singing this song -- and it has a LOT of words, but I survived...

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