Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Music

For me, about 80% of Christmas is the music. I do wait until the day after Thanksgiving before I turn it on, but then it's on around the clock. From the goofy to the sacred, I love it all. Funny how it can seem like just another December day until you pop in one of your favorite Christmas CDs and--walah--suddenly, it's Christmas time! I also enjoy being a part of music performances whenever feasible with our family situation (either singing in a choir or accompanying on the piano--much better at the latter), and this year I played for our church choir's Christmas program (this morning) as well as the cute little first graders in the school Christmas concert.

I'm trying to raise a bunch of little musicians, so along with piano lessons, Kate is taking harp and Will is taking cello. Elizabeth wants to do violin after a few more years on the piano, but I think I've successfully talked her into the viola. (Simply because EVERYONE does violin - not as many chances to play in my mind.)  Hearing Kate play "God, Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" on her harp at random times of the day is seriously therapeutic!  (We're just renting the harp, mind you.) You should consider this instrument of the gods over others that don't sound quite so nice when played by novices.

Well, Christmas is a busy time for musicians, so along with all the other wonderful things that happen this time of year, we've also enjoyed:

1 piano recital
1 harp recital (I stayed home with Elizabeth who was throwing up, because Brandon needed to help get the behemoth into City Hall for the recital - WAH!)
2 orchestra concerts
3 elementary school concerts
2 church concerts

I think tonight's concert at the church was the last of the season for us, and it was a good one to wrap up our festive "concert series".  Turns out that Donald Ripplinger, former associate director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, lives in our area and directs our stake choir every year for Christmas. Wow. It had me in tears, but that's easy to do when it comes to live, sacred music--especially Christmas music. Along with a very large choir, there were string, brass, and wind instruments, and I have to say it was pretty darn amazing.  All volunteers, of course--just people that live within the stake boundaries. That's how we do things in our church. None of this hiring out professionals to come in and perform. We just "make do" with whatever talent is in the area. Everywhere I have ever lived has been brimming with it. There are some things the Mormons take seriously, and good music is one of them. (Don't miss the annual MoTab PBS special on Christmas Eve . . .)

It's hard moving to a place where you have no identity or family ties.  It makes it really easy to judge other people--as a defense mechanism--and isolate yourself if you're not careful.  I had been starting to feel a little sorry for myself this past week, being away from both sides of our family for the holidays, but after participating in the church program this morning (Brandon's a tenor), and then attending the larger program directed by Donald Ripplinger tonight, I felt more at home here than ever. Hearing all those familiar and not-so-familiar favorites in a church setting with so many good, like-minded people was like coming home in a very real way. Christmas music just does that for me.

Brandon bought a cello Christmas CD from Steven Sharp Nelson (the guy that performs with Jon Schmidt), and besides the gorgeous arrangements for both cello/harp and cello/piano, there was even a cello/ukele arrangement of "Simple Gifts". You see where this is going, right? (Hey, a girl can dream!)

Speaking of the cello, the only pictures that were taken at any of the aforementioned concerts/recitals were at Will's orchestra concert:

By the way, the Christmas music stays on until New Year's Day . . .

1 comment:

  1. I love Christmas music too. It wouldn't be Christmas without it! My husband and I echo your phrase "trying to raise a bunch of little musicians." Though I would not be allowed in the church choir, I love watching my husband and daughter perform. My daughter plays the harp too-and we're upgrading to a larger harp come the new year. (Ouch on that price tag!)
    The photo of your son playing the cello is darling.
    Merry Christmas!


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