Thursday, 13 September 2012

Xmas Concerts - Family Style

This photo was taken roughly around the same time as the video was. Apologies for my do - it was a bad hair-year for me.

Xmas Concerts - Family Style
13 September 2012

Aaahhh!  Christmas concerts are simply my best!  Every year for Christmas, when we were little, and not so little, we had a big Christmas concert.  Absolutely everyone participated.  Music predictably played a huge roll.  Festivities always started off with my Mom reading the nativity scene from the Bible.  None of us are particularly religious (well there are a few), but it seems appropriate somehow, especially at Christmas.  For the most part, everyone wears their nicest clothes and takes a bit more effort with appearances - and I must admit - we all clean up pretty good.

Planning an act in advance, is almost as fun as the actual concert.  However, quite often, those last minute impromptu put-together acts are somehow the best.  My grandparents both always play the piano and sing along.  Songs of their youth and while they were still a courting couple.  It makes my heart ache, it is just sooo sweet.  The young kids do silly little skits that make one laugh out loud.  My grandmother tells of her childhood growing up on a farm.  Every single person gets a turn.  And every single person takes part.  Even my Grantie.  Shame, it is quite hard for him.  He is not theatrical at all (he’s dramatic, but that’s a whole different story altogether).  So his “act” every year, is as camera man.  He films the concert and believe you me, it is quite a job.  On a few occasions, when we were still dating and he was still ‘scared’ of my father, he toed the line, dressed up and played along as Father Christmas – handing out presents to the masses.

The Christmas venue rotates – from my Grandparents’ house, called Cloetenberg, to my Mom’s house, Muisnes in Tulbagh, the holiday house in Kleinbaai and even once or twice at our house.  There is no structure to it, it just shifts - as and when the mood takes us.  Music normally includes the piano, a whole host of guitars, a wee bit of harmonica and even the trumpet.  The last act before we open presents, is always singing of Christmas carols, normally accompanied by a whole bunch of guitars.  Played by my brother, my brother-in-law, my uncle, about 7 cousins (I kid you not), my grandfather (however he loves the trumpet as well), etc.  And it is not uncommon for my sister and I to squeal in true groupie fashion “Oh! We have Albert Frost playing at our Christmas concert!”, as well as “That Robin Auld is so hot right now” (okay, that one comes from Katrine – I prefer to not comment).

And for the most part we have video footage of all of our Xmas concerts of years gone by.  In the past, my aunt Bettie, painstakingly took all of the footage.  Subsequently, she was replaced by Grant and he has now been replaced by…..a tripod!  Clever, hey?

Anyway, so I scratched around a bit and found one very, very special clip.  Now I’m not 100% sure about the year, but I think it was Xmas 1989.  But shoot me if I’m wrong, it could just as well be 1988, in which case, I’ve got everyone’s ages wrong.  The Loubser Five put our heads together, and what with all of us loving the Blues, in particular old sad, nobody-loves-me-Blues, we found a classic.  We picked our winning tune, the day before the concert.  Rummaged through my Dad’s cupboard for clothing (Katrine just wore Albert’s PV jacket – he was about to start Gr 8 in the January after the concert – of course unless I got the year wrong), and got a few props together.  Albert was already turning into a guitar maestro then, so quite obviously he had the guitar part.  However, we decided to go with the original soundtrack, so he literally had to mime.  And this will probably be the only time you see him lip syncing - EVER.  Ironically he could play the tune, just as well.  My Dad played the bass on the old Tea Chest Bass.  And then us gals, were the “doop-doo-wah” girls, although we were actually dressed as guys.  We quickly worked out our steps the night before and practiced in the sitting room – to much laughter.

The problem is, that we had to look real depressed.  I tried a bit, but I was a teenager at the time, so looking cool was way more important – and I was supremely aware of the camera as well as the fact that I was pretty sure that I would be a famous actress one day, and I had to put my “acting” talent on display.  Katrine could not stop smiling – she was just sooo cute!  My mom spent most of the song scratching her non-existent testes – very funny indeed and just so typical Maggie.  Albert tried to look brooding with his unlit cigarette dangling out of his mouth.  He maintained his cool and nonchalant fa├žade by avoiding eye contact – he never looked up once!  My Dad simply glowed – he had the prime part and he played it so well.  I just love the bit where he has this naughty twinkle in his eye and he winks at my mom.

Such a very, very special and memorable little slice of time.  A golden snippet.  I attach the clip, but must apologise for the quality – picture and sound.  Video camera’s back then aren’t what they are now.  It was quite dark in my parents music room – the venue for the show.  My grandmother’s sister, Auntie Ydianne, kept on leaning forward obstructing the view a bit,  but it’s not so bad.  In the background there’s lots of laughter and comments, but one gets the general vibe. 

Just for the record:  My Dad was 37, my Mom was 35,  I was 16, Albert was 12 and Katrine was 10.  Or perhaps we’re all a year younger.

Anyway, here goes.  I dare any of you to not like it.  It is simply magical!  Sit back, relax, have a good laugh and enjoy!


  1. What wonderful memories! Love to see our Fafan in action!

  2. Loved this! I have fond memories of a Christmas eve at Cloetenberg when the Dickinsons joined the Tritionjac Lombatds for an act. I seem to remember it was one of the songs off a Disney tape -yes, tape, - that we had in the car for the kids. Damned if I remember the song though! What fun. Great to see your dad in the clip.

  3. Oh my soul Helene absolutely stunning :) and yes your dad winking at your mom was my fave part and my second fave part was your dance moves in your oversized shoes :) lovely memory thanks for sharing xx

  4. Oh my soul Helene absolutely stunning :) and yes your dad winking at your mom was my fave part and my second fave part was your dance moves in your oversized shoes :) lovely memory thanks for sharing xx