One of the guests at the German Club Christmas party says it for me.
“What a lot of work it must be to set up all that equipment,” she comments, as Elmer picks up the microphone to begin his part of the after-pot-luck entertainment. Of course, he dismisses this acknowledgement.
“Everyone involved did a lot of work to put on this evening,” he replies. True enough. Many people have worked hard. Everyone has brought food. Some have decorated the Christmas tree; others have put the coffee on and even made tea; another group has warmed up the hall, set poinsettas in the wall frames, spread festive cloths on the tables, or opened up the guest book. Yet another person has thought of creating a side table of decadence and delight, featuring mandarin oranges, peppermint candy, toffee, and chocolates. A silver Christmas tree, a thin ribbon of metal anchoring suspended glass teardrops and spiralled around a center pole, certifies it as the indulgence hot-spot. ‘It’s Christmas,’ the hall breathes, in case anyone hasn't noticed.
But, yes, Elmer, too, has invested time and energy, as he does, year after year, month after month, helping people sing. Tonight, as is his custom, he has set up well before supper. He has brought his accordion, along with its electronic innards, affectionately known as the “gut-box.” Nearby, he organizes an amplifier, his pouch of cords, and his music binders. As he aims to project the song lyrics on the screen, he makes sure to have the LCD projector with its own particular hook-ups, and the back-up jump drive. My job is to bring the computer and the Mac adapter and provide tech support; he lugs our screen, a relic purchased at a school garage sale, and hooked onto a microphone stand on a table. It works.
Earlier, he had reflected on the musical tastes of his audience, as well as the demands of the occasion. Comprised almost entirely of seniors, it’s a public that loves traditional German music, that loves to sing, and that knows him. His program will reflect that.
|Away in a Manger|
|Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire|
|All I Want For Christmas Is |
My Two Front Teeth
|What Child Is This?|
The evening is yet another example of the power of Yes. The people gathered in that hall leave uplifted, their community ties relaquered and reknotted because a handful of people said, ‘Sure. I’ll do it. I’d be happy to.’ The power is in the sharing, the service, and the effect. Certainly not in the money.