The Sounds of Christmas

>> Sunday, December 2, 2007

I have always been thankful that I grew up in a home that was constantly filled with music. In fact, many of my favorite childhood memories have music connected with them. My parents, although not professional musicians, were great lovers and appreciators of good music, and both of them sang in our church choir. Good music filled our home on a daily basis via the stereo or the radio, and all three of we kids took piano lessons and participated in our church and school music organizations. Two of us even ended up making music our life's vocation.

Around our house, holidays were always very special, mostly due to our mother and her love of them. Her favorite holiday was Christmas, and she went all out with the decorating, cooking, celebrating, and making merry. Our dad was usually the one who chose "background music" for our various seasonal celebrations. At Christmas I remember the sounds of the Montivani Orchestra, the Robert Shaw Chorale, and one of my very favorite albums was one of Tennessee Ernie Ford with the Robert Shaw Chorale. However, for me, it just wasn't Christmas until I heard Handel's Messiah. Messiah was probably my dad's absolute favorite work and every Christmas and Easter he'd get out his recording of it and we'd listen, once again, to the glorious sounds of "For Unto Us a Child is Born", "Every Valley", and, of course, the "Hallelujah Chorus". When I later went to college and majored in music, I would sing the work so often that by my sophomore year, I had it completely memorized, and now, as a professional musician, I can't even count the number of times I have performed this most beloved masterpiece.

Two Christmases ago, I sang the work, once again, with the Stillwater Chamber Singers, and had the honor of singing the aria, "O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings to Zion", which has always been one of my very favorites. The following recording is by a Japanese counter tenor by the name of Yoshikazu Mera, and it's probably one of the most incredible performances of the aria I've ever heard. Gotta get my Christmas Messiah fix!



5 comments:

Monte December 7, 2007 at 6:26 PM  

That's great! How do you come up with all this stuff? That holds many, many good memories and it was one of my favorites, too. But, I think it was the Roger Wagoner Chorale, wasn't it?

Lynette December 7, 2007 at 9:50 PM  

Yeah, you're right. It was the Roger Wagoner Chorale. We had a couple of Christmas albums by them, didn't we?

Del Monte Erwin December 7, 2007 at 10:05 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Del Monte Erwin December 7, 2007 at 10:08 PM  

Oops! Technical difficulties. Meant to say, yeah, that's right. One with Tennessee Ernie Ford, and one of their own. That made Christmas.

Lynette December 7, 2007 at 10:28 PM  

Yeah, when I think of Christmas music, I think of those two albums the most. In fact, it was the Roger Wagoner Chorale that really implanted the love of choral music that is still inside of me today. Going to Chamber Singers rehearsal every Monday evening is like therapy for me.

BTW, I LOVE your new screen name...Del Monte! LOL! I remember we used to call you that all the time when we were kids!

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