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Magic!

December 15, 2014

Memories

Some say that life is about “making memories”. When I think about my childhood, especially during the holidays, what comes rushing into my mind, are the traditions. Little ones, like helping my Dad put the sled and reindeer (seems like they were life-size) on the lawn and the giant star that hung on the front of the house.

After I got married I mentioned that star every year, until one year my husband made one and surprised me for Christmas. When I drive up the hill at the end of the day the star shines brightly on the roof of our home and puts a smile on my face. When I was about 8 years old I wanted to give presents to my siblings and parents, but had no money to buy anything. I saved the toilet paper and paper towel rolls and wrapped them up and had everyone open them at the same time. I still remember the puzzled looks on their faces and the questions of “what are these?” Of course, “da-do-da-doos”! I can still feel my smile when they all put them to their lips and played them in unison. For years afterwards someone always wrapped one to pass on. I could go on and on about the memories that I have from childhood, in and out of school.

These might seem like little insignificant things to others but they were important to me at the time and remain forever etched in my memory. What do you do each year that is important and makes your heart sing? What do you in your classroom that creates memories for your students?

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 7.22.43 AMAs an adult one of our family traditions is to see the Magic of Christmas each year at the Merrill Auditorium. The Portland Symphony Orchestra, now directed by Robert Moody, is one of those traditions. My husband and I started going when my oldest son (now 27) was a baby. Sadly, my sons aren’t around each year to attend with us but it still continues to be a tradition for us. We attended the performance last evening and it was spectacular. In fact, it was so uniquely different than other years it is one of my favorites. The “collage”, as Robert Moody called the first half of the show, included a diverse group including, Simply Three, a string group that plays traditional tunes in an innovative style. Inanna, Sisters in Rhythm, the all women’s percussion and vocal ensemble has been around for 25 years blending the sounds of West Africa, the Middle East, and Brazil with incredible energy. And the FLUKES, Falmouth Library Ukulele EnSemble, played their version of “Mele Kalikimaka” to the delight of the audience. Two dancers from the Maine State Ballet joined the orchestra for “In the Christmas Tree” from The Nutcracker and Ray Cornils was on the returned Kotzschmar organ after a 2-year refurbishing. Soloist Susie Pepper added a memorable touch in her rendition of “Let it Go” from Frozen. The viola section was highlighted and played one of my favorites, Good King Wenceslas. My all time favorite is “Hallelujah” from Messiah which takes me back to my days in the high school choir. And, of course, the audience sing-along with the almost 3000 people in attendance joining together to make music. I am reminded of the power of music with all those voices.

Congratulations to Rick Nickerson who directs the Magic of Christmas chorus. Rick teaches music at Windham High School. MaryEllen Schaper, dance teacher, from Bonny Eagle Middle School is a member who has been singing with the Magic chorus for over 30 years. I am guessing that there are other teachers involved in the orchestra or the chorus. Please email me at argy.nestor@maine.gov so you can be recognized for your contribution to this delightful tradition.

I understand there are tickets still available for next weeks performance of the Magic of Christmas. I recommend going and making some memories of your own!

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