Impromptu - December 2008
photo by Kirsten Beckerman
BSO OBOIST MICHAEL LISICKY AND SANTA CLAUS
have more than a little in common. Both men sport beards and have
rosy cheeks and a jolly countenance. Give Lisicky a red furry suit, a
hat, a white beard and some long white tresses and he’d have
everything he needed to pass as the man in red, right?
Not quite. The first time Lisicky dressed up as Santa to play
music and deliver BSO-donated toys to young patients at the
Kennedy Krieger Institute in 2006, Lisicky was nervous. Really nervous.
“I didn’t sleep at all the night before,” he confesses.
You see, Lisicky is a bit of a stickler when it comes to Santa
Claus and he worried about getting the guy right. “You can’t just
put on a hat and a fake beard, that’s not Santa. You have to have
the personality. Santa is comfortable. Santa has fun. Santa doesn’t
judge,” he says. “You can tell it’s right by the twinkle in Santa’s eye.”
Lisicky’s idea of the ideal Santa can be traced to Richmond, Va.,
where he and his wife Sandy and 9-year-old daughter Jordan travel
every Christmas to see Santa from the now defunct Miller & Rhodes
department store. The Santa is so perfect that he more than merits
the 300-mile round-trip drive. “I’ve seen the bar set very high for
Santa,” Lisicky explains.
He must be doing something right. Last year Lisicky returned
to Kennedy Krieger with a dozen musicians from the BSO to play
“Joy to the World” and distribute toys. He likes seeing the looks on
the children’s faces when he comes into the room, the happiness
that the gifts, the music and the sight of Santa bring. “It’s not easy
playing the oboe with all of that fuzz,” Lisicky says. “But it’s fun.
Nerve-wracking, but fun. And it’s worth it.” —
Read more about Michael