When I sang with the Virginia Glee Club at UVa, the Annual Christmas Concerts were the highlight of our season. Each Christmas Concert spanned the gamut from wackiness to sublimity.
The highlight of the concert was always “The 12 Days of Christmas,” which included audience participation. The conductor would divide the audience into 10 sections. The entire audience would sing the words for “a partridge in a pear tree,” and as the days went on, a different section would take the words for each of the days, with “five golden rings” reserved for the Glee Club. As the song went on, it would get stranger and stranger, with veteran audience members coaching their sections to sing something different from the traditional words.
But the highlight of the song was always the Glee Club’s version of “five golden rings” on the twelfth day.
I just found a video of this year’s version, from the 67th Annual Christmas Concerts, and I see that little has changed. I’m feeling waves of nostalgia right now.
(The back wall of the stage contains a replica of The School of Athens.)