Two Candy Canes and a Song For the Christmas Tree

12 Days Returns to the Auditorium Stage


Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

Two Candy Canes And A Song For The Christmas Tree

Smiles, seniors, holiday spirit, and, this year, masks will take the stage at Morning Ex on Friday, December 17 as the seniors uphold the tradition of putting on a 12 Days celebration for the whole Parker community. The 2021 showing of 12 Days is the first on-stage performance of 12 Days since 2019, and live performers will be masked. 

The 2021 school year marks the 73rd production of 12 Days, a Parker tradition since the 1950s. The production is based on interpretations of the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” written in 1790, and it represents the days between the birth of Christ on December 25 and Three Kings Day on January 6.

Every year, the 12 Days performance consists of the same components: singing, dancing, and skits. 12 Days will continue to look like that this year but with everyone in the auditorium  wearing masks. In addition to the audience in the auditorium, the seniors will be performing for individuals who are either Zooming in or watching the live stream. Afterwards, seniors have a second performance for their parents.

12 Days is a senior-led production overseen by the senior grade heads Emma Castaldi and Yadiner Sabir. The production team is composed of two directors, choreographers, stage managers, and Ryder Selikow on lighting. 

The co-directors for the performance this year are seniors Phoebe Radis and Tess Wayland. They are responsible for creating the script between the skits as well as collaborating with all other members of the production team and their grade. “We want to make sure that from the student perspective this is what 12 Days is supposed to be like and to mold it,” Radis said. “It has been more stressful than I thought it would be, but as more of it comes together, the better it looks.”

Senior Chelsea Njei is one of the choreographers on the production team. The choreographers are responsible for making up a dance and teaching it to all of their classmates. “As a choreographer, it’s been really fun to teach the dance to the rest of the grade,” Njei said. “They seem to be having a good time.”

“It’s their show, it’s their experience, and it’s what they want to do because a lot of these students have been waiting for this since kindergarten,” Castaldi said. “Ultimately, it’s in their hands to make it what they want.” 

Some members of the senior class have grown up watching different senior classes make this tradition their own. “As someone who has been at Parker since JK, it is an honor to be a part of something I have watched and loved my whole life,” senior Chloe Shah said. “Parker has many great traditions, but the 12 Days MX is one that everyone can enjoy and eventually take part in.”

Senior Evan Ehrhart believes that there are many aspects of 12 Days that as an audience member you have the luxury of not worrying about. “The hardest part is meeting all of the requirements because there are things you do not think about when you are watching, like that each script has to be under two minutes,” Ehrhart said. Ehrhart will be playing two roles at 12 Days: one of the four calling birds and Santa Claus.

While only some senior class members are a part of the production team, all seniors are actors and will be a member of one of the 12 skits. The seniors are assigned different groups where they are given a topic and an opportunity to collaborate with their peers to create something special to them.  

“For my grade, it will be a fun experience or memory,” Ehrhart said. “We are all having a lot of fun going outside of school, making our films, writing scripts, and coming up with ideas.” 

The senior class has been conducting rehearsals during Morning Flex, Graderoom, and other scheduled times to prepare for the December 17 performance. “Rehearsals have been chaotic but high energy. There is a lot of excitement around it being the first one back in a long time,” Castaldi said. “There is a buzz in the air every time we are in the auditorium.” 

Rehearsals and the production of 12 Days has been a multi-step process led by co-directors Radis and Wayland and other members of the production team. “Step-by-step we learned the dance, we had everyone make their videos, we got everything approved, then we started running through the whole thing, and now we are practicing until it is perfect,” Radis said. 

Despite the hard work that goes into it, the seniors have enjoyed the experience. “It is super fun to work on a grade-wide project for the first time in a while,” senior Jack Zoller said.

Ehrhart agrees with Zoller. “It has been really great, a great bonding experience, we have all been really cooperative and it has been great to see what our grade can come together and do.”

Radis is proud of the Class of 2022’s production of 12 Days. “I am proud of Tess and myself mostly because I have never been in a leadership position like this, controlling so many different operations, and it looks good,” Radis said. “I am proud of what we did together. I am also proud of my grade for really trying.”