Wow, what a week it has been for us - I am really tired, and have a little twin on my lap, keeping me company as I type. We'll have to see what happens here this evening!
This is #7, and probably the last episode, in my "I Used To . . . " series. When my kids were in the children's department at church, I realized that their cousins were having opportunities that my kids weren't because they were in a larger church. I could see how much fun they were having doing childen's musicals, so I decided that if we didn't have anyone filling that need in our church, I would take it on.
Our first attempt was small and very low tech. It was presented on Palm Sunday, and I still remember the thrill of the performance. This was before the days of even cassette accompaniment tapes - we had piano only. It was a wonderful story, and to this day I remember some of the songs. Two of them we used every Palm Sunday for years afterward.
I went to my favorite bargain store (predecessor to W*lmart, called Alco), and bought all varieties of cotton fabric, mostly striped. I made a dozen or so very simple costumes - just two straight pieces sewn together, leaving armholes and head opening. Add a simple tie belt, and you're good to go. I don't think I took any pictures of this first endeavor, or had anyone take them for me.
Then came the day that I went looking for those costumes for the next performance. They were nowhere to be found. After a considerable amount of sleuthing, I realized that boxes of used clothing being gathered for our Native American friends in Arizona and New Mexico had been gathered in the same room where I kept the props for the plays. I had a sickening feeling as I realized that our costumes had made their way to the reservation. I called the elderly woman pastor on our district, who had once worked with the Indian people and went down every year with the gifts, if she thought my suspicions were correct and the costumes had ended up down there. She said it could very well be, and if so, "Why, honey, they're probably wearing them and tickled to death to have them!" I knew I had to start all over again.
One year I thought it would be fun to have a choir performance instead of a play - I hunted high and low and finally found a pattern that would work for kids' choir robes. We had a marathon session of our young mom's Bible study group, where we cut out the patterns. Then we seamstresses each took about 6 robes home to sew. I was amazed at the difference in how they turned out - we made large bows for the girls, and small knotted ties for the boys.
Then one year we used the robes again for a smaller choir and a pageant on the side. That's one of my nephews doing the solo.
This isn't my favorite shot of myself, but I loved this outfit I made for the occasion. You seamstresses, please note the carefully matched plaid on the bias! And that's Kristen in the left background. She had accompanied at least one song with her flute.
The robes lived on for years as angel costumes, by adding gold or silver garland around the neck and bottom of the robes, when other leaders took over the musicals - as my children aged out of the children's group I stayed on for a few more years, then felt it was time for someone else to have the privilege! It's kind of like pregnancy - the performance is rather like the birth of the baby, where you forget all of the pain and labor. You swear you'll never do THAT again, but soon you are ready to "birth" another performance.
We did this next musical twice - it was so much fun. It was called "Get On Board, Children," and was the story of Noah and the Ark, with the premise of "What do you do on a rainy day in an ark?" if there are lots of children on board. You can see the replacement costumes I had to make for the ones that went on a trip to Arizona or New Mexico. The animal costumes were loaned to us by a church in Illinois. The kids provided their own footie jammies and brought the great variety of stuffed animals. I just noticed Pink Panther leaning against the baptistry in the back - do you think he was really on the ark?? (Oh, great - now I'll be singing that song in my mind all day!)
Here is Yours Truly doing a very rare solo as Mrs. Noah.
Another nephew designed the cover for the programs -
I found some really great cookie cutters in all sorts of unusual animal shapes, so the Bible study group again pitched in and made hundreds of decorated sugar cookies for a snack time after the performance.
I'll never forget the Christmas one we did called "Ebenezer, Jr.", which was a take-off on the Scrooge story, of course. We actually did this one twice as well. The second one ended up being my Swan Song - my last hurrah. My favorite thing to say about that play - if it is true that a lousy dress rehearsal means a great performance, this should have been the best ever. Kev was playing the teen-age lead and wasn't thrilled with the idea. He waited till the very last minute to learn his lines - and had to be prompted on a few, as I recall. The woman playing the mother in the story got sick that day and had to be replaced at the last minute - and we didn't exactly have understudies waiting to jump in with lines learned! But nobody else noticed all the problems.
It has been so much fun watching others take on the mantel and keeping children's musicals a big part of our church.
The twins got some new toys this week and have had so much fun experimenting and learning - and being happy for more than two minutes at a time!
For more Friday Show and Tell stories, stop by Kelli's blog, There Is No Place Like Home.
Have a great week-end!