Tag: Christmas carols

Nanowrimo, Christmas Music in November and Other Silly Rules

First I just wanted to announce to all of you I have finished the Nanowrimo challenge.  It was a tougher book for me to write than any of my other 3 and I’m proud of the basic story I was able to develop.  The prose is rough but the story I really like.

1508173_10152619833772239_8048249337604887857_nIt ended up being a story about a woman who has never fallen in love who loses her job which leads her into the path of an ever-growing group of people including a girl who ends up pregnant in a domestic abuse situation.  The more people she allows into her life the more she grows as a person.  It went darker places than I expected and I really enjoyed writing it.

I hope you are all having a blast with your writing and your projects! I look forward to having a bit of my life back after being kind of obsessed with nanowrimo.  I’m that way.  I get focused on one thing and shut other things out.  I would like to change that but it seems to just be part of me, so I work around it.

I’ve been thinking a little bit about the silly rules we set for ourselves that seem important at first but when you really think about it they are kind of dumb.  For example, for a long time I said ‘no Christmas music before Thanksgiving’.  This year I kept turning on Christmas music on the radio and enjoying it and then turning it off because of my rule.  It finally occurred to me ‘why?’.  If it is making me happy than why not listen to Christmas music?

Most people set such a rule because they don’t want to tire of the Christmas music.  Well, I do not tire of things like that.  If it is something I like I like it on listen 1 and listen 1000.  I just don’t grow weary of music, movies, food the way other people do.  Not sure why but it’s true.  So the rule may be helpful for other people but for me it was silly.  It was denying me of joy for no reason but to obey some rule.

It’s made me wonder what other silly rules I have that are unnecessary? Do you have any?

Well, I am exhausted so I will sign out.  Let me know how you are doing on nanowrimo.  Finish strong my friends!

Christmas without any Carols

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I’ve had a thoroughly delightful Christmas season including three performances of the Messiah, lots of lights, Festival of Trees, and the Christmas Carol last night.  Tonight I will be singing in our semi-annual recital for my voice lessons.   I usually do a traditional Christian carol but decided to switch it up this year with ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ because I felt it was ironic for 2 reasons-

1. I’m not going home for Christmas and at the end it says ‘if only in my dreams’ (like many of the songs from the 40’s and 50’s there is a hint of melancholy in the depth of what is otherwise a cheerful song.  ie Somewhere Over the Rainbow “If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow why, oh why can’t I?”).

2. I will be getting a new home, my first home, right after Christmas so the song works on that level as well.

Here it is.   As I’ve said before I’m no American Idol winner but I was happy with it.  The video isn’t great because I forgot my camera so I just had my phone, but I hope you all enjoy!

Anyway, as I’ve been preparing I have noticed a troubling trend- almost none of the stores or restaurants I have frequented this season have been playing Christmas music.  I’m not just talking about the ‘O Holy Night’ Christian variety.   They aren’t even playing the Santa, Rudolph variety.  I have never noticed this before and it makes me very sad.

For hundreds of years singing has been an integral part of the Christmas experience.  According to my old friend Wikipedia the first carols were sung in 1426 by “groups of ‘wassailers‘, who went from house to house”.  Then in the 1700’s Protestant churches wrote many of the popular carols we know today such ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, ‘I Saw 3 Ships’ and ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’.

Think about what this means- that for 500+ years western civilization has sung the  carols at Christmas as part of our tradition and now it is not heard much (and this was not just an isolated incident Walmart, Postnet, Kohls, Scheels, Zupas, Wells Fargo, Dollar Tree…I could go on. None had Christmas music playing).  That is a radical shift! Not even Republics have been around that long!

And why? Because everyone is so afraid of offending a tiny minority of extremists who will make a fuss.  I realize that non-Christians are not a tiny minority but most of them participate in the cultural traditions of Christmas and ignore the religious connotations.  Most Jewish, Atheist, or agnostics that I have met still put up a Christmas tree and sing the Christmas songs without any problem at all.  It’s part of our community, our traditions, as Hanukkah and Ramadan are starting to become.

But again they are not turning off Christmas music because of these good people celebrating other traditions, they are doing it out of fear of the one squeaky voice who makes a scene.  Well, maybe I can be that squeaky voice.  I love Christmas music.  It’s positive, hopeful, peaceful, happy, and as a Christian I miss having one season of the year where I could hear uplifting music wherever I went.  Is that so wrong?

If it was good enough for civilization for 500+ years surely it is still needed today?  I do believe the further our nation gets away from God and Jesus Christ, the further we move from freedom.  However, I also recognize that not everyone shares this view.  Why can’t we find a common ground of traditions and community bonding in shared space?  Why do we seem to only listen to one side of this argument?   It’s like a separation of church and state (not in the constitution btw) has come to mean a separation between all culture, business, community, and church; and I don’t think that’s what the founding father’s had in mind.

Here’s my plea to businesses out there- Please play Christmas music!  Especially after the events of last Friday we could all use a little peace on earth, good will towards men.  A little joy and fa,la,la,la, la never hurt anyone.   The number of people who will be uplifted by it will far outweigh the complainers.

You are a business you do not have to restrain yourself like government.  Be bold! Play some White Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty, whatever (sad that such songs are considered bold. Sigh…).  It may seem like a small thing but I believe these types of shared experiences and cultural routines have value and help us to relate to one another; otherwise, our spheres of common experience become more and more scattered each day and it should be no surprise that we are increasingly polarized with each passing year.

To Christmas carols!  Now on to my recital.  Wish me luck!

Christmas Recital 2011

I’ve mentioned on this blog that I have taken voice lessons through Hale Center Theater Orem for over 5 years.  I love having a creative outlet each week and never get tired of the thrill of accomplishment that comes with mastering a new song.  Each month we have a Master Class which is kind of a mini-recital/lesson.  In addition, twice  a year we have recitals.  The first recital I did I was terrified.  I sang  Till There Was You from The Music Man (and easy song) and my hands were shaking  I was so nervous.  I even told my teacher I couldn’t do it but out I went.

Ever since then I learned to enjoy the recitals (It makes me wonder what other things I might excel at that I am avoiding? Hmmm…).  In fact, I always sing better in the recital than I ever do in practice (I am the same way with swimming. Always better at the meets than practice.  I guess I’m a bit of show off and the attention brings out my best… 🙂 )

For this recital I sang an arrangement of The First Noel by Mark Hayes (I try to do a Christ oriented over a Santa each year).  I was nervous because the second verse was different than the hymn version I am used to.  Since I liked the new words I really wanted to get it right but I kept jumbling it up.  Fortunately I said a prayer and the right words came up.  I was also very happy with my mixed tone and how I was able to perform the song.

Unfortunately my stupid camera ran out of memory with one line left-literally a breath away from the 2 high notes 😦 .  Oh well!  At least this will give you some idea.  Everyone had really good things to say. Its fun to see how the other students improve year after year in the recitals and to get feedback. Even some of their parents know me and came up to say I’d improved.

On  a funny note- I’ve had 2 people tell me ‘Thank you for being you’ today.  All I have to say is “You are welcome!”.  In all seriousness, its great to be appreciated for who I am and for being me.  Merry Christmas!

My teacher Amanda and I