“The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown:
O, the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.”
Since I am in two choirs at church, voice and handbell, and help with a youth handbell choir where I am privileged to ring standing beside my granddaughter – I have more chances than many to sing and play the music of Christmas, and I love that. This year I ordered some music to work on at the piano at home titled Advent Reflections. Arthritic hands don’t play as well as they once did, but I have loved using that quiet, artfully arranged music to add to my Advent practice. Tonight our family will gather to attend Christmas Eve communion at our church, then return to our house for what has become a tradition over the years: tamales, guacamole, queso and tortillas followed by a gift exchange. There will be more carols around the piano – sweet singing!
Does your family sing Christmas carols, or go caroling? What are your favorite carols?
A high school friend, Freida House, and I sang as altos in the adult church choir. We harmonized all the time, anyway, so the choir was a natural for us although the choir director may not have thought so; more than once, Freida and I collapsed into fits of hysteria over an elder following asleep during practice, etc.
One Christmas I was given the verses in “The First Noel” as a solo. A soprano sang the descant, and the entire choir harmonized on the chorus. During the first verse, I was very nervous and lost my voice. The pianist kept playing. The soprano kept climbing, and, I stood there frozen. Then, to my left, Freida began humming the tune, and I found my voice.
I cannot sing “The First Noel” without thinking of Freida. And the funny thing is, she can’t even remember humming.
Tonight I will raise my voice with others in the Baton Rouge UU Church choir to sing “O Magnum Mysterium” (Lauridson) and “Ave Maria,” two high church numbers that I learned to love, ironically, in the Unitarian Church.
Denise, I love that I can picture you tonight as you sing! Those are beautiful pieces of music. Some of the carols I love to play and sing are Carol of the Bagpipes, What Child is This, and the many carols that are lullabies. The lullabies will be even sweeter this year as we anticipate holding my youngest son’s first baby around April 1.