Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Here's a Christmas gift that wasn't given to me from any of my cats or my immediate family. This CD found its way to me from my best friend Joel - my long-lost brother that I never had or wanted (it's his joke about me, folks!)
He and I have been best friends since our first encounter in Spring of 2004 at First Presbyterian Theater where he holds several jobs - production manager, full-time director, and part-time actor. When he's not working there, he's the technical director of the Scottish Rite Center here in Fort Wayne (more on that in a moment).
I first wrote about him when he presented me with a copy of Jana's "American Indian Christmas". Since then, Joel has joined me on several thrift store excursions of their record bins, searching for that second item I don't own in my collection.
Shortly before Christmas last year, Joel's schedule had him shuttling between the Scottish Rite and FPT. He was working himself to death simultaneously setting up and tearing down events at both places. Whenever my schedule permits, I go down to help Joel at either place.
Thus was the setting when I went to the Scottish Rite in early December, 2007. As I walked into the venue, I was greeted by the constant bustle of stage set-up with volunteers scrambling around working of different parts of the set. I was reminded of Santa's workshop as elves were working overtime to get the toys ready for Christmas Eve.
In the middle of the stage was a massive skeleton that was at least 30 feet high. In all my years building sets with Joel at FPT, nothing we ever built compared to this. Elaborate rows of risers all securely attached to the stage and braced at the proper places. What could this be?
"It's for the Living Christmas Tree" said Joel.
Joel also told me that the LCT was a Fort Wayne tradition for many years that was being revived. Joel and his crew managed to get the tree built in time for the show. The LCT had two performances to packed houses on December 1st & 2nd 2007, and got rave reviews from anyone who attended the show.
Several days later, the final piece of the structure was off the stage. Only the memories and the glitter that doubled as snow and wasn't swept up the fourth or fifth time remained.
Joel was grateful for the help and moral support for me. He then presented me with the CD you're looking at and a smile that said "Here's number two." Joel knew that I didn't own this CD and he had me dead to right. Thanks, pallie!
As I began to research this disc, I was astounded to find that Fort Wayne isn't the only place that the Living Christmas Tree is a tradition. A Google search reveals that cities all over the United States hold similar events and various companies are devoted to helping you build, light, and even program your computer for a living Christmas tree.
I visited the Living Christmas Tree for Fort Wayne. There you can find more pictures from the event held last year in the house that Joel runs. You can watch a video of the tree, read up on the history & tradition of the Fort Wayne LCT, and you can listen to every track of this CD and leave your own track reviews!
I enjoyed this CD quite a bit. So much in fact that I'm dying to see this event when it comes back to the Scottish Rite on December 6 & 7 of this year. Considering I work for the Scottish Rite under my best friend Joel, I'll probably be working this event. Helping to build the tree, stringing mic wires out of view, and sweeping up tons and tons of glitter afterwards. It's a living.