Monday, December 12, 2016

Carols and Other Christmas Songs

Yesterday we went caroling with my church, an event which always leaves me somewhat exhausted.  We go to rehab centers, hospitals, and the houses of people too ill to leave them.  So I'm caroling but I'm also working through my panic at being surrounded by all the ways that our flesh can fail us.

And we're often competing with the television.  That's odd to me.  At some stops, I can't fight the feeling that the residents would rather be watching the television.

For more on yesterday's caroling, see this post on my theology blog.  Let me capture some other thoughts about holiday music in the rest of this post.

--When did "My Favorite Things" become a Christmas song?  It's not on many of my Christmas CDs, but enough of them to make me wonder.  Was Barbra Streisand the first to do it?

--I asked my spouse, and he suggested that it was John Coltrane, before Barbra Streisand.  I said, "But honey, that wasn't a Christmas CD."  What would that sound like?  And then I had this vision of all of those strung-out-on-heroin but still talented musicians putting out a Christmas CD.

--Yesterday I listened to this great interview on NPR's On Being.  Musician Alice Parker reminds us that we've only been singing in harmonies for 400 or 500 years, only been writing our music down since perhaps the 1200's.  I'm not sure why that struck me, but it did.

--Every time we go caroling I think about a short story that I came up with years ago, with a different church and a different set of carolers.  I can get the basic set up, but not much else.  I've always joked that if I'm a little old lady living alone and people show up unbidden to sing carols at me, I'll know that I'm in a bad way.

--This time of year makes me wish I lived closer to Mepkin Abbey--I'd like to pop over to see how they decorate.  I'd like to hear the Advent liturgy.  But even if they had space for visitors, this time of year is not a great time for me to get away--thus the wishing that I was closer, that a time out wouldn't take such a time and driving commitment.

--I suspect there's a short story lurking in that chunk of text too.

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