After an entire day of stomach butterflies, after worrying about rain, after getting a Figgy staff person to hurriedly fix the team sign so it read "Sassy Santa's: No Talent Required" instead of Wacky Aunt's name (and good GOD, Public At Large, when are you going to stop putting apostrophes where they don't belong?!?!), the eight of us plus our Prop Man, the groupies, and the nice ladies who held the donations box and passed out candy arranged ourselves in front of Sephora. Our backs to the audience, we flung on our hats and scarves for our first number- a cutesy rendition of 'Jingle Bells'- listened for the pitch, turned around and-
AACK! People! Everywhere! Listening to us!
Over 40 groups of over 800 carolers gathered downtown Friday night to raise $76,000 for the Pike Market Senior Center and Downtown Food Bank. That's about $20,000 more than they raised last year. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to everyone who contributed either by mailing me shiny fat checks or by showing up to cheer us on and put your donation in our box. I will make good on that cookies promise, so if you donated Friday night and I didn't see you, shoot me a "Uh, hi Maggie, I know you're totally freaked about your Christmas party happening this weekend and about how you have too much furniture and not enough space for the 59 people you invited, but I'd like my cookies, please, and you can send them to (fill in address)" AND I WILL SO OBLIGE. In fact, there are cookies baking as I type. And they are YUMMY.
The Sassy Santas' (notice the correct usage of the apostrophe, General Public?) shtick was to dress all in black, but to throw on a prop for every song. After 'Jingle Bells', we put on our shades for '50 Kilowatt Tree'. At our first practice Dan was all, "Isn't this song GREAT? And I can totally do the lead and you guys can do the bop bop background and it'll be FANTASTIC!" and we were looking at him like, "Uh, right, well, we'll see.." and secretly thinking, "He has GOT to be kidding!", but it turned out to be AWESOME. Dan strutted his stuff while the rest of the group hung back snapping their fingers and crooning "doo wada wada!" after every phrase. It wins the award for Song You Will Never Remove From Your Brain. Also, everyone must now address him as LL Cool Dan because oh! the ladies could not help themselves from all the girly giggling when Dan took the spotlight.
From there we moved into the Fifties (notice, General Public, that here we use 'Fifties' and not 'Fiftie's'), slapping giant pink bows on our heads and horn-rimmed glasses. Instead of imploring the audience not to sit under the apple tree, we asked them not to stand under the mistletoe while the Prop Man surreptitiously dangled mistletoe above our heads with his fishing rod. (We suggested to the Prop Man that he go out and dangle it over the audience, but that was SO mortifying to him- until I pointed out my two sisters in the audience and, well, it was okay to put mistletoe over THEIR heads.) Phillip broke out the saxaphone for our version of 'In The Mood': "Who's the chubby fella with the twinkling eyes?" And I win the award for Keeping A Straight Face when, during 'Mister Santa' when the girls sang "Mister Santa?" and Phillip said, "Yesssss?", I didn't trip over myself laughing like I did all through the dress rehearsal. Go me! Also, could Phillip be any cuter? Impossible. Well, totally possible, but not right that very moment!
The next song featured a sweatbanded Dan as Richard Simmons while the rest of us sang about 'The Most Fattening Time Of The Year.' Richard implored us to choose granola over cookies and fruitcake and once again, we must all give a hand to LL Cool Dan. Did I mention we had a crowd? We had a CROWD! There was honest-to-God APPLAUSE.
And for some reason, the crowd was energizing instead of terrifying when we pulled on our wigs and boas for 'Santa Baby'. I even used my diaphragm when I sang this song, people. We shimmied, we sauntered, and we thoroughly mortified my brother who sat on a planter across from us for our entire first set with a cocked-eyebrowed look that disdainfully said, "I can't believe I am RELATED TO THESE PEOPLE."
Our version of 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' ("The first thing at Christmas that's such a pain to me") got a lot of laughs too, namely due to Dan's indignance at hanging outdoor lights, Mark's repeated hangovers, and Wacky Aunt's turn as a spoiled whiny four-year-old. "I wanted a TRANSFORMER for Christmas!" Phillip maintained his dignity by singing, in a normal in-the-right-key voice, "And finding a Christmas tree" at the end of every verse. As he told me earlier in the week, "No, I like having the last verse because then they won't make me sing any of those silly campy ones." Ah, Phillip. I don't have the Ham gene either, but thank goodness we know people (and related to people!) who do. Otherwise would we have participated in the Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition? Which was super crazy fun? I'm not so sure.
Our last song was 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' (there are different rules for using apostrophes with 'it', General Public, and perhaps you should learn them), a sweet send off, the women all bundled up and the men channeling their inner Dean Martin. We ran through the set about three times before the hour was over and it was time for the groups that practiced more than 3 times to perform on stage for the THOUSANDS of people clogging the streets. We saw a group turn 'Silver Bells' into 'Flying Fish, those being the fish in the Pike Market, and a gang of the loudest most adorable kids shouting 'Up On The Housetop'. There were lawyers singing about their Favorite Things (clients with lots of money, judges who pass motions) and a labor group who used their song to promote free-trade coffee (on a stage next to a Starbucks, no less!)
At the end the Figgymaster went home to count up his buckets of dollars and the Sassy Santas took off for the Westin Hotel lounge for some self-congratulatory drinks. Wacky Aunt handed out awards (The Prop Man was "Most Supportive". Dan and Diana were the "Biggest Hams". And Phillip received 'Most Musical' as Wacky Aunt recalled the moment when Phillip asked for a metronome and she had to explain that we were "not that kind of group". Also, he insisted that we snap on beats 2 and 4. The rest of us were just lucky if we could sing in key.)
AND IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! We were so nervous we hid ourselves up on the monorail platform ten minutes before the show to do some last minute practicing, but nobody noticed any missed notes or askew props. We had a crowd the entire time and even if they were all assorted friends of people in our team, they were strangers to me. Besides, this morning at church a guy walked up to Phillip and told him he saw us at Figgy Pudding. We're famous!
Speaking of famous, I don't want to post any pictures till I get the okay from those on my team who are not attention whores like myself and disturbed at the thought of plastering their likenesses all over the Internet. In the meantime, content yourself with this lovely snapshot of the Christmas Spirit!
(And once again, a huge happy thank you to everyone who donated, stopped by, paid attention, or wrote me a "that's so great!" email. I love those emails! And even though
Figgy Pudding is over (for this year, anyway!), you can totally send me more.)