Sounds of The (Strange) Season

O, the weather outside is frightful! The tune of Let It Snow runs through my head as I look out the window this morning at thick fog. It follows a day of pouring rain on top of the remnants of a recent snowstorm. And there’s talk of a nor’easter coming this week. But, I digress. I really want to talk about music, not weather.

Usually, my December is filled with Christmas/ holiday music. I (and I suspect many of you also) used to roll my eyes when I’d hear Christmas music blasting in the stores in mid-November. But these days, the few times I’ve ventured out to the stores, the sound of holiday music is more like a soothing dose of normalcy.

Typically, in December, my a cappella chorus, after polishing up our holiday repertoire for months, would be out in the community singing at assisted living facilities and tree lighting ceremonies. And the church choir would be preparing hymns for our Christmas celebrations. Instead, in what’s become standard Covid fashion, my chorus put together a virtual concert. With the help of our local community television station, we recorded some of our favorites to create a musical celebration we could share safely. If the link still works, you can watch it here: MVA Virtual Concert.

Tonight, in lieu of all those missed church choir rehearsals, our parish collaboration is holding a virtual Christmas coffeehouse via Zoom. I don’t consider myself much of a soloist, but I decided to step outside my comfort zone and volunteer to sing for it. My favorite song of the season is Lo, How A Rose. Every year, I look forward to singing it with a certain friend of mine. (Miss you, Dawn!) I love the harmonies and the haunting melody of this song. I miss not being able to sing it or any other favorite Christmas harmonies this year. Instead, I recorded myself singing the melody of Lo, How A Rose. And tonight, with a little guitar accompaniment, I’ll sing the harmony against my own recording.

These new, socially-distanced endeavors are part of the strange soundtrack of my Covid-style Christmas this year. What does yours sound like?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, however and whatever you might celebrate!

Gratitude Spiral: Day 330

Today, I’m grateful for a second parking lot gathering with my chorus-mates.

We haven’t been physically meeting together since February due to Covid-19. Every week we meet online, but it’s just not the same. It was fun last weekend to see some of them in person and to sing together, albeit distanced from each other and hard to hear the harmonies. It’s given me motivation to sing more at home, to get my voice back in shape for the next in-person songfest.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 284

Today, I’m grateful for Tim McGraw’s new album, Here On Earth.

I don’t listen to country music as much as I used to. Very rarely do I tune in to Spotify or Apple music, either. I still use iTunes and an old iPod. But the other day, I bought Tim McGraw’s new album after seeing him in a tv interview. So many heartfelt songs. I’ll be enjoying this one for a while. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 278

Today, I’m grateful for the uplifting music in the 2017 musical film, The Greatest Showman.

I finally watched this movie for the first time the other day. I’d heard, and even sung, some of the music before, but hearing and seeing the talented actors perform the musical numbers was so powerful. I’m thankful for their gifts and the gift of the amazing songs written for the film. They’ll be playing in my head for days!

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 267

Today, I’m grateful for singing Christmas songs in August.

This time of social-distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic has left a lot of choirs and choruses with nothing much to do. Once a week, the chorus I belong to meets online, but we can’t easily sing together. One of the local community television studios is going to help us record a virtual Christmas performance, so we can still bring our music to audiences for the holiday. Starting this week, I get to pull out my Christmas music and brush away the cobwebs, so I’ll be ready when it’s time to record my part. Looking forward to it. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 222

Today, I’m grateful for my vocal cords or, more accurately, my vocal folds.

Air moving through one’s vocal folds produces sound — a simple, but remarkable process. Before this time of self-quarantining against the threat of Covid-19, my normal week would involve several social gatherings that included some talking and a lot of singing. These days, I spend an awful lot of time at home. Alone. No singing and very little talking takes place. Yesterday, I realized my vocal folds aren’t getting enough exercise. But I think it’s time to change that. I’m thankful for them, so it’s time to wake them up and start singing again. That way I’ll be ready for the day when it’s safe to sing with others again. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 218

Today, I’m grateful for the Carpenters Gold: Greatest Hits album.

On yet another rainy day, sitting at my computer, I decided to open iTunes. Much of the time lately, I prefer quiet, but I needed music yesterday. The first thing I saw was my recent purchase of this album full of old songs. Listening to it lifted my spirits and made life feel a little simpler for a while. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 169

Today, I’m grateful for the means to repair the wind chime that my brother gave me many years ago.

It’s been battered by the New England weather and is not much to look at anymore. The metal pipes have detached; the strings have broken. But a little nylon fishing thread and wood glue work wonders. I hope to hang it today and hear its music again. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 163

Today, I’m grateful for new batteries in my guitar.

I bought myself a new guitar months ago. It’s got a built-in tuner — something I’ve never had before. Twice now, I’ve mistakenly left it on and depleted the batteries. I’m happy to have a new pair of batteries that I hope to take better care of this time. Now I can tune up and play on. . .

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 155

Today, I’m grateful for new songs to learn.

My a cappella chorus can’t meet in real-time these days. We meet once a week via video chat, but it’s not really conducive to singing in harmony. So, while we wait to be together again, we’ve got a couple of songs to learn individually. It’s not as much fun, this singing alone, but it’s something. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?