Abigail Meredith, Assistant Arts Editor
Clay Mattox and Josh McDaniel had their first experience running Kerr Christmas, a Campus Activities Board show, last week, and they made sure to put their own personal spin on the annual holiday event.
They shared their experiences, and how they enjoyed making Kerr Christmas fresh and focused.
Mattox, a senior Psychology, Pre-Counseling major, and one of the directors of the show, explained how they made Kerr Christmas into something special.
“Josh and I had to have a lot of conversations about the tone we wanted to set, and the music and skits that went along with that. Overall, the normal interpretation of Christmas has a lot to do with material things, but both Josh and I wanted to pull the focus from that to the real meaning of the holiday,” he said.
McDaniel, a senior Bible major and the other show director, agreed.
“Our expectation was created for ourselves. We wanted a coherent show, good acts, and funny skits. We just wanted people to be able to come together and enjoy the evening.”
They faced several struggles, starting with the fact that neither of them had ever attended a Kerr Christmas.
“We’ve never been to a Kerr Christmas before” McDaniel said. “We felt like we were literally doing everything from scratch. Plus, two out of four of our MC’s had never been in a CAB show before. But that was good. We wanted to get some new faces in there.”
Mattox elaborated on the struggle.
“It was hard, since we did not have context for what was done in the past.
Especially when we were hearing from other people what’s been done in the past and we didn’t know what the traditions were or what they looked like,” he said.
“When Josh and I were planning games. We were told that Kerr Christmas always does the wrapping paper game. And neither of us had ever heard of that game, so there was a little bit of that tradition and standard that we weren’t familiar with. Also, from what they’ve told me, in the past it was a lot more Christmas carols and sing-a-longs, but this time we did our own thing: more hymns. We had O’ Come All Ye Faithful, Silent Night, and all those sort of songs.”
There was even an original song written by Luke Jarboe, that he performed with his sister. Mattox praised the meaning behind it.
“Luke Jarboe’s song had to do with World War One, when they had the Day of Truce on Christmas Day and both sides of the western front came together to help each other bury their dead. Luke mentioned that there are even stories and rumors that they played a game of football against each other. And that’s what we wanted. Just a reflection of the idea that Christmas is a time of peace and remembrance of the Peace that was brought through Christ. Obviously the skits were funny and lighthearted, but the music and setting was very much reflective.”
McDaniel described several of the lighthearted skits that were very popular with the crowd.
“One popular skit was Christmas Rappers. In that one, a girl walked up and was like “Can you wrap this present for me” and all the employees were Christmas Rappers, not wrappers, so they take the present and just rapped about it lyrically. The whole point was to be dorky and awkward and that really got across. But even then, the performer’s raps were really talented. I did not expect that high a caliber of performance. It went over really well.
“Another skit was one Truett Ross, a senior Communications Studies major, wrote called I’m Dreaming of a Whitehouse Christmas. It had to do with Barack and Michelle Obama’s last Christmas dinner in the Whitehouse. I think it was funny enough to be in Spring Affair or one of the higher CAB shows. Truett, one our MC’s, played the character of Joe Biden. I wouldn’t even say we made fun of them. All the Trump jokes we had were from Trump’s own Twitter account. So, all we did was quote Donald Trump as a joke and it went by so well. Plus we found all those Joe Biden memes on Instagram and Pinterest and we just went along with those. It was hysterical.”
The performances went over well, and the relaxed and positive feedback from the audience reflected the comfortable, truly joyful atmosphere McDaniel and Mattox were aiming for with their first Kerr Christmas.
McDaniel said, “Kerr Christmas is just like any other CAB show except everything is smaller and Christmas themed. It’s very relaxed, everyone has hot chocolate. People sit on the floor of the Kerr Lobby. It’s a really fun time to get together. Just like every other CAB show, we get the community of OBU together and relax.”
“Our skits were all about different aspects of Christmas. Our music was all Christmas songs. We concluded with Dr. Kelly, a faculty member and the Ruth Dickinson Chair of Religion, reading the Christmas story. It was a different tone in that sense. It was less of a group singing and goofing off together, and more of a group reflecting on what Christmas really means.”