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 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 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?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 121

Today, I’m grateful for all my musical friends.

Last night, I met thirty of my a cappella chorus-mates on Zoom (video chat) to catch up on life away from the risers. Yesterday morning, ten church choir members chatted for a while (again, on Zoom) about our new normal. It was good to see their faces. One church keyboardist even emailed a piano track to a song we sing, so I pulled out my guitar and played along. It soothed the sore spot in my musical soul. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

P.S. Wondering what a Gratitude Spiral is? Find the answer here.

Gratitude Spiral: Day 106

Today, I’m grateful for singing harmony with friends.

There’s something about adding a harmony to a beautifully sung melody that lifts my spirit to a higher plane. It’s like living inside the music for a moment in time. And I’m grateful for the experience.

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 88

Today, I’m grateful for musically gifted people.

At least once a week, I sing with some incredibly talented women in an a cappella chorus. Then, at church, I sing with many dedicated choir members. And also at church, I get to play guitar with several multi-talented singers and musicians. What a blessing to experience their gifts!

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 59

Today, I’m grateful for the opportunity to get away from my normal routine and spend time with hundreds of women from the North Atlantic Region of Sweet Adelines International who love to sing!

As a singer, I never stop learning how to be better at this craft. And it’s encouraging to be among so many women willing to do the same. 🙂

What are you grateful for today?

Gratitude Spiral: Day 12

Today, I’m grateful for children’s singing. The unfettered energy and raw talent that pours out of the mouths of children is a joy to listen to. Last night, I attended a community chorus’s concert. Toward the end, their children’s chorus stood and sang John Lennon’s  “War Is Over”. Singing is a whole-body sport and children know how to put everything they have into it, without the restraint that we adults practice. It was beautiful thing!

What are you grateful for today?