Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Sounds of Christmas

My Christmas memories have soundtracks.
  • My parents owned long-play record albums of seasonal favorites by such greats as Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, and Jim Nabors; as a child, I would stack them six-high on the stereo changer and make sure the house was filled with Christmas music all through the month of December. If you have no idea what I am talking about, ask an old person. Like me.
  • The first time I remember playing the piano in public was in the third grade; I performed "White Christmas" at our elementary school Christmas program. I look at the piano score now and wonder how I was able to play it after just one year of piano lessons.
  • My paternal grandmother loved the song "The Little Drummer Boy." If we were together for Christmas, I would play it for her in person; if not, I played it over the telephone. I miss that.
  • I have seasonal sheet music that belonged to my dad and have added much to his collection over the years. I have spent literally hundreds of hours playing Christmas music on the piano; consequently, I know practically every word to every Christmas song ever written. If I am ever on "Jeopardy" and the category is "Christmas carols," I will make a sweep.
  • I am not ashamed to admit that I isten to 98.5 FM, "Atlanta's Home for the Holidays" almost exclusively in my car from Thanksgiving through Christmas Day, and to little besides my extensive holiday CD collection on my iPod. This makes my children crazy. I do not care.
I could go on an and on. Instead, I will share the Christmas music memories I made this year.

1. Nathan and I made the four and a half hour drive to Spring Hill, Tennessee and enjoyed a house concert of solo piano music presented by artists Joseph Akins and Philip Wesley.

l-r: Joseph Akins, Yours Truly, Philip Wesley

Santa put in an appearance, too, and played an amazing arrangement called "Jingle Bell Boogie." You can buy the single for just 49 cents at CD Baby. It will be the best 49 cents you ever spend.

I made a point to mention what a good girl I have been this year.

The concert was so amazing that even grumpy Beethoven found a little holiday spirit.


2. I attended Mill Creek High School's holiday orchestra concert. Instructor Dana Lowe really knows how to draw music from her students. Charlie Brown showed up, too. He gave me a candy cane. For real!

Mill Creek High School Concert Orchestra

3. I went to my friend Cell Fehrenbach's birthday bash at Loco's in Gainesville. Technically, this had nothing to do with Christmas. But it helped make my holidays complete nonetheless. Because that woman can REALLY sing. It is beyond me why she isn't rich and famous. Her voice is reminiscent of Tracy Chapman, but her lyrics are optimistic and laced with humor. I love her stuff. Give her a listen.


4. I participated in the fifth annual Messiah Singalong with the Riverside Chamber Players and the Michael O'Neal Chamber Singers. The instrumentalists and soloists were superb, the conductor was excellent and engaging. I sat in the alto section, next to a woman who actually knows how to sing; she helped me find my pitches in a couple of the songs I don't know as well as others. But I held my own for the most part, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being a participant in the event as opposed to just a member of the audience. It was wonderful to be a part, however, small, of such a magnificent performance. I plan to make this an annual event.

Do your Christmas memories have a soundtrack? What is your favorite seasonal song? Your favorite holiday CD?

Have yourself a merry little Christmas!


Raining Roses said...

Pam, you are an inspiration in more ways than you'll ever imagine.

Pam said...

Aw, thanks, Pete. Merry Christmas to you and your family.