During the holidays, we are all involved in productions in one way or another. It might be acting in a heartwarming holiday play, singing the Hallelujah Chorus, helping kids learn their lines for school or church programs or driving young dancers to Nutcracker performances. Even our kitchens become stages for baking, cooking and hosting; we seem to be in production in every area of life. My holiday performing is mostly musical. In November and December, I have 17 scheduled rehearsals or concerts. It seems everyone wants live music, and I have a history of saying yes to everything. I will be playing my horn for church services, Yulefest, Festival of Trees, quintet concerts and maybe even the Civic Theatre’s production of White Christmas. What can I say … the spirit of giving makes me do it. That same spirit has inspired a relatively new theatre company, Words Players, to undertake a production of gigantic proportions: “The Spirit of Christmas Past: A Christmas Carol.” More of an experience than a play, this holiday performance includes a Dickens market, trolley rides to and from the Mayowood Stone Barn venue after dinner at The Restaurant, the “streets of London” and more than 70 cast members. Behind the scenes, a group of talented women are managing the budget, costumes, market and technical details, all so Tiny Tim can take center stage and recite his famous line, “God bless us, every one.”
Speaking of blessings, I have a feeling you will be counting yours after reading Lynn Behnke’s beautiful tribute to his wife, Carla, on p. 39. Carla led many years of holiday gatherings and was the creative director of her kitchen and her family. Lynn uses a cooking analogy to describe how, though they didn’t always see eye to eye, they created a charming life and have many memories to show for it. May your holidays be filled with this kind of reflection.
When the stress happens, don’t get too caught up in the production of it all. Remember Carla’s “Rule Number One: Lighten up!”