Transitioning Traditions


Photo by Anna Johnson

Campbell Helling, Copy

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many cancellations have occurred because of safety issues. Many have experienced vacations, camps, concerts and more called off throughout the spring, summer and fall. In the winter, with the holidays taking place, many traditions, both nationwide and local, help people celebrate this time of year. However, due to the ongoing crisis, some are on hold. Annual Seabury traditions, such as Winter Formal, have met a similar pandemic fate.

Margie Lawrence, director of the Seabury choirs, describes how Lessons and Carols would have gone this year: “[We would have been] doing it in the commons, so we [wouldn’t] be at a church this year,” she says. To make it as pandemic-friendly as possible, “The students would have to be six feet apart,” and, “we [wouldn’t] have an audience.” Despite these severe limitations, Lawrence did have a plan to make the concert accessible: “We [were] going to record all the choir singing their songs,” she says. 

With the concert cancelled, the students are doing a different project: “Each of them individually are going to design their own Lessons and Carols program,” says Lawrence, meaning that they “have to research to find carols” and “they’re assigning who the speakers will be, and they can assign any speaker they want, still living.” Students are usually the centerpiece of the annual christmas choral tradition, but this year they get to look behind the scenes.

The decision to cancel the concert was not an easy one: “I was very sad,” Lawrence says, because “we’ve been working on it with the idea that we would do it.” There is a spark of hope, though: “We could still record our music in January too.” The spring concert is also a spark, as she has high hopes for next semester. “I would like very much to do [the spring concert].” 

Freshman Spencer Timkar explains how he feels about the cancellation of the Christmas concert: “It kind of sucks, but you know, it’s not really safe to sing inside. I guess it was the more recent decision. I always think the Christmas concerts are fun, because it’s an accumulation of all the [year’s] work.” Fortunately, there will be some traditions that his family will continue this year: “We’re going to go and get a Christmas tree and decorate that,” and “I get to have Christmas with my family, as usual,” he says. 

Sixth-grader Lillian Meier is disappointed that the concert had to be called off: “I am a little sad about that,” she says. Along with the Christmas concert, there are many holiday traditions that she hates to miss: “Well, I like having Christmas parties with my friends, but obviously we can’t do that.” To resolve this, she says, “I’m probably going to Zoom with them and we’ll just talk and eat food.” Meier also ponders what will stay the same about the holidays this year: “You eat dinner with your family, sometimes you open presents if you celebrate Christmas, you open some presents every day with Hanukkah.” But in the end, she says, “you still celebrate with family.”