Christmas in Christ Chapel as a first-time participant

Sophia White-

Christmas in Christ Chapel (CinCC) is truly an adventure in personal discipline and building connections. With several hundreds of hours of rehearsal and 360 hours of performances, my body was full of aches. Headaches, blisters, dehydration, and a variety of other pains. I was entirely convinced that, at some point, my knees would give out and I would slip underneath the risers as if I were ‘Flat Stanley’. I had to learn how to take care of myself prior to the concerts: drinking several cups of water, putting bandaids on my heels, taking pain meds, but most of all managing to keep myself enthusiastic and prepared for concerts.

Each concert reached a point of complete dissociation in my mind and body, but eventually, I would be pulled out of that state. It was the moment when I was aware that within a few more songs, we were done. Did this mean that all the work we put towards, all the friendships I had made were done too? It was something I thought about, especially during the last two concerts. During those last songs, I put my all into them. I held on tight to the image of the people I cared about and sang my love into existence.

One of the best parts was the important people in my life coming to see me perform with my new friends from the choir. Regardless of how much pain I was in, I received pampering and support from all ends. I received flowers from my partner, was styled by my little sister, was praised by my parents who checked in with me after each performance, and was given the best hugs from my choir comrades as I was sobbing after the third concert.

It felt like everyone came together to take care of each other while we were all going through something physically and emotionally taxing for something we mutually cared about. For that reason, it is one of the best ways to connect with other people. It is an experience that I would recommend to anyone who struggles with getting to know other people or might be a little more introverted. As an introvert myself, I found that going through this experience with other people helped me open up to people I never would have expected to meet otherwise. People I did not think I had anything in common with, I did.

Some of this was discovered through the 30 or so memes about CinCC distributed over the weekend of the concerts. Whether you saw them on YikYak or in the Chapel Choir GroupMe, they were numerous and prepared just for this occasion. Sometimes it made it difficult to not laugh during the performances.

Even though it is seen as this grandiose serious event, there is also this hidden chaos that underlies it all. If you’ve never been part of CinCC, you might have no idea just how much goofiness takes part in these performances coming together. The humor becomes so broken by the end of these weeks of preparation that anything (literally anything) becomes hilarious. I remember finding someone’s shoes funny.

I can see why this might be a sad time for seniors who have done this event for years. The memories you make from these experiences stay with you. CinCC brings people together. Even if it is a grueling time, it truly is worth it. You don’t know who you’ll meet next year. Each year brings new people, new songs, new inside jokes, and new experiences. So I can sympathize with seniors who will never experience CinCC quite the same way they did in the years past.

I am happy to have a break from the song memorization, hot robes, and lack of time to finish work, but I will be happy to do it again next year. I wouldn’t do it all over again right now, but a year down the road sounds nice. I need some time to catch up and get through my first semester here first.

For those of you who are professors, give your students some grace at this time. Some of us are still having post-CinCC recovery. Which, yes, is a real thing. Just give us a few more days, and I am sure that the rest of us will catch up on deadlines, give our presentations, and get around to writing those essays. I believe the first priority to getting through the end of this semester should be a little bit of rest. I say this on behalf of students who need it.

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