We’re full steam ahead now in Advent, looking toward Christmas and stopping along the way for Advent prayer services, Christmas Carols Services, Advent and Christmas Radio Programs, and crackers. Umm…crackers? Yes, though to our surprise, not the crackers that you’d want to bite into. They look like this and have goodies inside them, like jokes, prizes, and paper crowns. One person holds one end, another person holds the other end, and both pull quickly, “crack(er)ing” the case. Similar to the famous Thanksgiving wishbone cracking, one person will end up with the bigger side (and the goodies) and the other person will be sad.
Nicole and I have been working with the first-year students at the Vocational College in Wexford on preparing a few songs for their Advent Prayer Service on Tuesday. This is new territory for the House of Brigid, so we were eager to meet some older children and maybe plug in for new additions to Clonard’s youth programs.
We waltzed into the school, and were led into a room with clusters of teachers and administrators on their tea break. The extensive talk-through of the entire Advent Service which we were expecting turned out to be one teacher saying, “umm…just sing something with the kids. About 5 minutes during the service,” at which point she walked out of the room. Nicole and I turned to each other, identical wide-eyed expressions plastered to our faces, and brainstormed quickly as we weaved our way through the crowded hallways, attempting to keep up with the teacher. Upon arriving at the classroom, we were directed to the front of the room and after one or two words from the teacher, were told to take it away.
Now let me try to paint a rough picture of what the experience has been like for the past few rehearsals. Think of that scene in Sister Act II when Whoopi Goldberg walks into her new classroom and, failing to capture the attention of the students, screaches her nails across the blackboard. Then add to that image about 20 students and a roomful of Irish accents. I tried to quiet the rambunctious youth by calling out, “hey y’all can we take a seat?” to which I received a chorus of “HAHA! Y’ALL!!!” in return. I would find out later that that was the last and only time that the entire class would say/sing something in unison. By this point, one boy had already gotten himself into deep trouble, so he was off to the Principal’s office along with the teacher and our only hope of maintaining order. After unsuccessfully trying to speak at a normal decibal, we finally started singing, and a few voices joined in. Then a few more! Then maybe 1/3 of the class by the end of the class. But we’ll take it! During the next couple rehearsals, the students were pretty similar in their…umm…energy levels, but we did manage to get a harmony going on “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” and we’re working our way to a beautiful arrangement of “Silent Night” and “Night of Silence.” So here’s to hoping the service on Tuesday goes well and that I don’t accidentally say “y’all” again.
In other news, we were invited to the Bishop’s lovely home this past week for a gathering and “thanks” for our contribution to the Christian Media Trust Radio program on the Southeast Radio station. There were lots of folks there, all giving their time, energy, and talent to the success of the radio program. It was a warm and pleasant evening on a very freezing night! And of course it was topped off with lots of crackers. Even the edible kind. 🙂
Here are some fun pictures of Wexford this time of year!