Tag Archives: skits

Christmas Programs and Improvisation

missyredboots114This past Sunday was the last Sunday before Christmas, and the pastor of our church wanted the children to do a special program. We attend a very small church, however, and some of the children don’t attend on a regular basis, so planning a Christmas program wasn’t easy. Add to that the fact that we had bad weather on Friday, and it became even harder to put together. Instead of a practicing a skit, then, I offered that my children prepare a few Christmas songs to sing or play on the piano.

We had the same sort of program planned for our nursing home visit this month, and it went well. I had the older children read parts of the Christmas story from Scripture in between the music selections. We didn’t have a lot of time to practice before the church service, but we had done it before, so all would be fine.

Or so I thought. During Sunday School, I was told that on the days the children have a presentation, the pastor doesn’t plan a message. We would have a lot more time, then, and nothing to do in it. I asked my husband, who is very good at public speaking, if he would read the scripture and fill in where necessary. He agreed, and I felt a little better…

…until the service began. My husband started reading the first few verses from the Bible, and I told my oldest son John to get his piano music ready to play. He opened his folder and searched through it, but his two pieces of music were missing!  He panicked and became upset; as I tried to calm him down, telling him not to worry about it, my husband finished the verses. I motioned to him to keep going, which he did, while John went to search in the car for his music. He never did find it, so after he returned we sang a Christmas carol and moved on with our presentation.

After more scripture, my daughter Lillie played her song on the piano, and we sang again. During the third carol, though, my youngest, Luke, decided he would sing directly into his microphone. This would have been all right if he had known the words. He didn’t know any of them, though, and instead made up his own as we tried to sing. My other children started giggling, and I couldn’t help laughing (quietly, of course), so much of that carol went unsung.

After church was over, the children all agreed it was not a good program. “Well,” I answered, “we learned some things. We learned that sometimes things don’t go just right, and you need to improvise. And even when that happens, Christ can still be honored by our efforts. And we learned that we need to be careful when we give Luke a microphone.”

“Yes,” my daughter Cassie answered, “it wasn’t the best program, but it sure was the most fun!”

A Week of Recitals

This week happens to be a week of recitals for our family. On Wednesday, we’re joining with other homeschooling families to perform for the residents of the local nursing home. The children will play musical instruments, sing, and recite scripture and poems. On Friday, we’ll go to the local college, where Cassie’s flute teacher (a music major there) will accompany her as she plays her solo in front of other students at the school. Saturday is the big piano recital at a nearby church, where John and Lillie will each play two pieces they’ve been working on for the past few months.

I’m not sure how all of these events made it into the same week, but I am sure that I want my children to participate in all of them. Ever since they were small, I’ve tried to take advantage of any opportunity to have them stand in front of an audience and perform. They’ve sung in church on Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and any other day the pastor has asked the children to sing. They’ve recited poetry at talent shows and 4-H Fun Day. They’ve performed in skits and plays.

Do they enjoy it? Sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes they whine and want to quit, but I have them do it anyway. I was involved in music in school, and I understand what it’s like to be anxious when you have to perform in front of others. Even today, I become nervous when I have to speak in front of a group, even a group of people I know well. But I also know it’s a great life-skill to have, and that the more you do it — the more you practice — the easier it is to do. Sometimes the children will mess up. Sometimes they’ll make mistakes. Sometimes they’ll perform perfectly. But every time is a learning experience.

Destination Imagination

This past weekend, we headed to the University of Tennessee Conference Center in Knoxville to watch three of my nephews participate in events with Destination Imagination. My sister first told me about this organization last year, so this year we went to see what was involved and how it all worked.

At this regional level, there were quite a few different events students could participate in, and the top performers move on to the state contest. My nephews were in a drama contest in which each group had to come up with a mystery skit and props.

Before the competition, the students were given a list of famous detectives to research. Armed with only this information and miscellaneous craft items to make props, they waited for their turn to perform. They were then given the name of one of the detectives they had studied, three different movie genres, and a superstition to investigate; all of these had to be included in the skits. They worked for the next thirty minutes to put it all together into a six-minute play. Then, right before they performed, they were given a surprise element they needed to include as well. The students had one minute to figure out how to include it, and then the play began.

I was impressed with what the kids came up with! Each group had about five to six people who had to work as a team to pull it all together quickly. All of the team members performed a part in the play. And they had to present their skits before an audience and three judges.

There were other challenges as well, and groups from any type of school, whether public, private, or homeschool, could participate. I came home from the trip and searched the website for the Destination Imagination events in our area – I think we’ll get together a group for next year!  (Destination Imagination — www.idodi.org.)