Well, the anniversary party was a success. My parents seemed to have a great time, and were deeply touched by some of the things that their family did for their party.
People seemed to like my "Growing Up Chamberlin" presentation (one person wants a copy to take to a doll convention, which struck me as odd since it doesn't paint dolls in a particularly good light). Unfortunately, the audio was so low that I suspect the people in the back, and anyone with a hearing problem, were unable to really hear it. And because it used the same system, my brother's MC'ing also suffered from low audio, to the point where I couldn't hear most of his jokes. (My parents were down front and center, so I'm sure they heard everything.)
I'm kind of annoyed at the church because of the sound levels. When we booked the church, they made no mention of having to separately book the sound people from the church if we wanted to use the room's sound system. When we double-checked with them about the sound system, they informed us that the three weeks of notice we had until the party was apparently not enough notice to get them in to let us use the sound system. (What, they don't see 'em every week at church?) Then, when we get there early to set up, they've got the sound system going, playing religious music while they're setting up their catering.
We had to make do with the sound system stuff we brought, which would have been okay for a smaller room, but this was a gymnasium, and the loud air conditioning made it difficult to hear anything that was being said through the speakers unless you were seated at one of the front tables.
Luckily, the sound system my two neices used was sufficient to carry across the gym (combined with the throw of their voices). They sang several songs during the chronological tour through my parents' marriage as arranged by my brother. Most were well received, but the best was the song they wrote themselves to the tune of American Pie. It had the fantastic lyric My, my, but it's been a long time. They've been together like forever, so we wrote them this rhyme. Very funny and heartwarming stuff that prompted my mom to go up and give them both a hug at the end of the song. They also did some very amusing dance steps to a Huey Lewis song for the 80's stint.
Other contributions to the show were background music by one of my nephews and some good saxophone music from my other nephew.
I'm glad my parents enjoyed themselves. I'm a bit irked at the church for dropping the ball on the sound system, because I think it made things less enjoyable for the mostly retired guest list (and for me), and I think they charged us more than the venue commands. I just wanted it to be more perfect than it was. But there were no big fiascos, we properly celebrated their 50th anniversary, and it all came off basically as planned, so really, it was a great success. All the work and planning was worth it.