We went to our grandson’s middle school (grades 7, 8, 9) “Winter Choral Concert” the week before Christmas. As with those in prior years (late 1990’s - 2005), when our own children participated, it was thoroughly demoralizing as a commentary on our culture; It demonstrated the ongoing progressive rout of Christianity from the public square. The progressive (now neo-fascist) grand project, of course, is a return to paganism and the its immanent barbarism. To that end, then, Instead of tunes and lyrics familiar to and loved by the large majority in attendance, we heard bland, mediocre melodies, replete with words like “candles”, “bells”, “winter” and “joy”. Surprisingly. the word Christmas did make its re-appearance this year, though. It actually materialized once in one selection and several times in the tune, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. This was the only recognizable tune in an otherwise sterile secular agglomeration of 16 choral pieces.
Those were the facts. Ever on the lookout for signs and symptoms of absolute cultural bottom of the new secular ‘woke’ religion, I drew some inferences from what I observed. The children were well behaved, knew their lines without sheet music and were sufficiently well disciplined that they were able to re-arrange themselves on stage quickly between class and small choral group presentations. They were neat and generally presentable. In short, they were pliant, followed the rules and appeared well practiced. The singing was harmonic and words mostly in unison - sufficiently so that jejune lyrics were at least partially intelligible as words and phrases. I take all this as evidence that these students are being groomed to become tractable milkers (as well as mindless drone shock troops on occasion) - if not yet beeves - for exploitation by American cadres of the globalist elite.
Now, each song of the concert was introduced by a student who came forward to the microphone; 16 students performed such a duty. Despite adequate amplification and acoustics, not a single one of them was intelligible. Every one spoke as though he/she were mumbling (at playback speed X2 à la YouTube) to a small group or with a friend over a video call. There was zero stage presence or voice projection. It was obvious that no one had taught a single student the basics of public speaking - like reading slowly with pauses and enunciating individual words clearly. Diffidence was the obvious trait at work and the result puerile. Yet, the audience - without my assistance - dutifully applauded each and every one, however abysmal. I interpret this as evidence of the public schools’ emphasis on performance of the commons, rather than the individual. TPTB do not wish any individual to portray self-confidence or merit, after all. On the face of it, they succeeded.
What struck me most, however, was the joylessness of the affair. Smiles were almost entirely absent. It was, instead, businesslike; the word “bureaucratic” kept popping into my mind. As in the apparatchik life, all human juices had been extracted and a desiccated simulacrum presented. In the midst of it, I did have one tearful emotion, though, in the form of a memory of my own 9th grade performance in a 1958 junior high school Christmas play (replete with once well known Christmas music).
Now, I was a secular/Jewish kid in a public school which was 90% Christian. Not only did I survive reciting the Lord’s Prayer and a Psalm of David every morning since first grade, but I recall these with warmth and gratitude. In retrospect, I can say that they measurably improved the tenor of my days at Alexander Hamilton Junior High School. They set a standard by universal participation in a brief moment of reverence. Never did I ever feel “excluded” or “othered”. In fact the only episode of objection I remember was that a native South American Catholic girl, who objected to saying the last sentence of the Lord’s Prayer, because her priest told he she shouldn’t recite it. Resolution: “just don’t say the last sentence”; end of story.
I also had a personally sparkling moment during my own performance as a magus in the Christmas play. As Balthazaar, following our Adoration (I knew not the word, then), we prepared to take our leave of the stable. At our departurs, I spoke (through my tenuously glued-on beard) my one line: “Peace be upon thy house, fair lady, and so, farewell”. That turned out to be the most affirming moment of my three years of junior high. During the dress rehearsal, Miss Veronica Scott - one of the last of the old breed of spinster teachers - literally stopped the music (from her seat at the accompanying piano) and cried “Stop”! - followed by a silent pause with much self-examination in the audience and on stage - because Miss Scott was a noted disciplinarian. Suddenly, she blurted out “DIdn’t he say that beautifully?!”
Enthusiastic applause followed! I expressed a big sigh of relief, with a burst of unexpected pride. End of that story, which memory almost brought me to tears of grief as I realized that I had loved Miss Scott and that she was undoubtedly long dead and all-but unremembered. She had taught me music for three years with a happy blend of discipline and approbation. In retrospect, I sense that this brand of never married female (we knew the definition of ‘female’ then) teachers I had, needed an outlet for their unmet maternal instincts. We students were the beneficiaries of that all-too-human impulse. Nowadays, hugging a student is at best, suspect, possibly career-ending and perhaps criminal. This is called “progress” by the benevolent powers in charge of curriculum in schools of higher learning and pedagogy, as taught in today’s institutions of “higher learning”.
Thus, my grandson, Henry’s (now “Hank the Tank” on the la cross pitch), concert was bittersweet from my perspective. I was glad to see him - he’s easy to spot since he’s about a head taller than most of his classmates - as a participant in a group, as when I see him playing la cross - yet I’m saddened by the absence of joy - for ideological purposes - at a gathering which, in the state’s public schools, was once permitted to exist and even encouraged. This, in a culture which loudly and regularly proclaims its “tolerance”. These schools and this culture are actually far less tolerant today than they were then I was a student. The narrow intolerances then were aimed a very few; the practitioners of such intolerances were mostly ostracized. All the while, we were constructively self-critical and and ever strove for improvement. Now, intolerance is near universal, fully-formed - required, really - and aimed especially at our forebears and those who continue to revere them - i.e., those who created and promulgated the document aspiring to remind us what principles ought to constitute us as a society.
The entire thrust of public education is now aimed at destruction of that Founding document and cancellation of any who dare espouse it or differ with reigning orthodoxy. The lessons of that sad fact are everywhere and inescapable. The “Winter Choral Concert” is but a small, dispiriting, example.