A Christmas Desert

A Christmas Desert, by Tom Piatak.

On Monday, I got to hear my sister describe a fifth grade concert she just endured, where not one song mentioned Christmas, or even alluded to Christmas. All the songs were recent concoctions, devoid of cultural significance or artistic merit. Rather than sing “Silent Night” or even “Jingle Bells,”  the children sang “Bop Bop,” “Ringing Ringing” and “The Wacky Winter Song,” the latter a tuneless lament for how cold winter is.

Quite a contrast from my own experience in public elementary school, where we sang Christmas carols and learned about this great holiday.

What my sister experienced was a deliberately cultivated cultural desert. As she described the concert she attended, I kept thinking about the one attended, with the beautiful sound of the Cleveland Orchestra’s violins and violas playing the exquisite “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella” still fresh in my mind.

And I thought back to what the conductor told us, before inviting the audience to sing along with five of the Christmas songs contained in Leroy Anderson’s “A Christmas Festival:” he said the lyrics were in our programs, but he didn’t believe anyone would need them. And few seemed to. But years from now, after millions of children have learned to sing “Bop Bop” rather than “Joy to the World,” that will no longer be the case. Christmas leads to the heart of our culture; the War on Christmas leads nowhere.

hat-tip Stephen Neil