Thursday, December 18, 2014

An Old Fart's Holiday

I posted this on JoeMyGod and liked it enough I thought I share it with those of you who don't read that incredibly worthwhile blog.  Anyway...

Off-topic: "White Christmas" was first heard on Christmas, 1941. Although written in 1940, Bing Crosby introduced it on his radio show two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. "I'll be Home for Christmas" was written in 1943, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" in 1944. Both were written to help ease the holiday for those whose loved ones were overseas fighting in World War II.
There is a toast "to friends no longer with us." A few decades ago, with so many friends gone each year, there seemed little to celebrate and much to mourn. This year, many of us here at JMG have lost family and friends, both human and pets, and celebration may be tough...or at least tinged a bit. I offer these songs to you. I may sound like Debbie Downer, but I'm not. The songs are tributes to those friends no longer with us but live on in our memories and dreams.

That's the extent of it.  In my 25 years of directing choruses, I came to truly dislike this time of year.  It never goes away.  You might get January off, but by February the publishing companies are starting to make suggestions in their year 'round catalogs.  In March, the PR person wants information for that year's Christmas concert with a title for the concert and some titles.  Then there's going through the files for Christmas music you haven't done for a couple of years.  By the end of May, you have to decide what new music to order, since if you order it from the music store by a certain date, you get a pretty good discount.  Over the summer, you make up rehearsal recordings so the chorus members can practice on their own.  The music comes in sometime in August, and all of it has to be together for the first September rehearsal...and you have Christmas music in your head until January 1.

Yet I always tried to get one of these songs in the concert.  The holiday season is fun for a lot of people...lots of food, lots of beverages, lots of presents.  It's also a time of year when some people don't get lots of food, lots of beverages, lots of presents.  It's a heavy-duty family time of year; if you don't have family, you feel left out.  And if you've lost friends, whether human or animal, or members of your family of choice or blood family, it's difficult to be without them.  I always hoped one of these songs would offer a little consolation, a little hug, a little "I understand what you're feeling" to someone in the audience.

White Christmas:
I'll be Home...
Have Yourself...

Wishing you the best for your holiday season.

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