At the Christmas concert, the conductor is a thousand-year-old man, the mistress of ceremonies is his old wife, the players are children in high single or low double digits, and the audience are parents and even younger children. The first violinist, leader, concertmaster, is ten. She shakes hands with the conductor and--you can see it filter through the stage lights--some of him rubs off. When they play, is that the essence of Chinese orchestra in the accidence of Bach in Poland? Or the other way around?
The reason I'm here stands in the choir there, just there, in the middle, so serious, singing traditional carols. A boy alto pales and wobbles and is led to a chair. To be so serious, so frightened of these larks.
So bring on the dancing girls. To recorded Hawaiian music, little girls in floral bikini tops and chiffon skirts dance around littler girls dressed as flowers. Then an adult opera singer to enact something tedious with a prop angel. Then the dancing girls are back in Santa costumes to dance to "Jingle Bell Rock." Then an adult violinist, but adults don't matter, adults are for edification and example, neither of which we want. But the dancing girls are back to lip-synch and prance to "All I Want for Christmas in You" and try out their new hips. One is chubby, one a stick bug, one voluptuous, one walleyed, one like Alfalfa in drag. All is in accord with tradition.