Local churches have two really big annual events – Christmas and Easter. And every pastor knows the importance of presenting the story of the birth of Jesus and the death/resurrection of Jesus with the necessary emphasis.
Enter Psalty, the singing songbook created by Ernie Rettino and Debbie Kerner Rettino. (find out more at psalty.com). My wife, Kitty, and the church children’s ministry director had attended a seminar in Atlanta at which the Rettinos were the featured speakers.
When the ladies returned home they were certain they needed to plan a Psalty event for the next church Christmas program. Kitty volunteered to be Psalty – a blue song book taken from the idea of the book of Psalms. Several sheets of foam, wood bracing, some sewing, gluing, fake eyes, a mouth and a nice pair of blue leotards and a long-sleeved turtleneck, and Kitty was ready to pitch her voice in another register for “Psalty – A Christmas Calamity.”
Christmas productions were not a new thing in our church but it was the first time the pastor’s wife dressed up on blue foam and leotards. My wife is nothing if not energetic and, in typical fashion, she gave her all; literally.
The first attempt at making the costume involved plywood and was so heavy that my wife’s five-foot frame could barely support it. The second attempt was much better and lighter but time was running out and the ladies just didn’t have adequate time to construct and focus entirely on their own kids who were playing in the house. Not a big deal, right? Unless you are a four-year old who wants her mother’s attention and the blue lady crawling in the giant foam singing book is in the way. There’s only one thing to do – that’s right – you bite the blue lady’s butt (Screams, more screams, a falling down blue singing songbook).
Well, she pulled it off…uh not the biter…Psalty and the kids pulled off the show. It was a huge success without any real calamity. With kids and special church productions just about anything can happen. Directing such an event is not for the weak or nervous. Over the years programs have included a nervous little girl in the front row of the choir pulling the front of her dress over her head. There was the little fella who was very nervous, also on the front row, who needed to do something with his hands so he wouldn’t stop touching himself…there. Then there was the church treasurer’s daughter who projectile vomited directly toward the video camera. Her older brother made sure to edit it in slow motion in order to capture the spew sailing through the air and landing on the floor.
Truth be told, those are the things we remember most. Not the perfect song or the well-rehearsed line. No, we remember the little boy playing the part of a shepherd. When he forgot part of his line he shouted, “Shoot! I didn’t want to say the stupid part anyway!” In fact, I don’t think I’d want to watch a perfect kids church program. I’ll take the memories instead.