V.com weekend vote: Will you experience live music related to this holiday season?

December 20, 2019, 12:59 PM · The holidays are a wonderful time for live music - and for employment and playing opportunities for musicians!

stained glass church

As a musician, the month of December brings me to a lot of churches that are not my own, for Messiah performances, Christmas concerts, etc. Occasionally I've enjoyed the chance to play at my own church as well, but generally Christmas Eve finds me somewhere else. And I know that this is the case with my colleagues of many and diverse religions, or no religion at all, who are called upon to play in church performances during the holidays.

As with playing for weddings, I generally enjoy the opportunity to see how another group of people celebrates their spirituality and beliefs. One can get jaded as a musician, especially when things get busy, and the "just a gig" mentality can set in. It happens to me, too. But I have to say, a lot of my moments of spirituality during the holidays occur in the midst of the music, in churches that are not my own. After all, if I didn't have that tendency to get carried away by music, I don't think I would have devoted my life to the violin!

This year, the holiday has brought me to one church for some Messiah performances, another for a holiday concert, to an Alzheimers home for an outreach concert with students, then I'll play for a Christmas service. After that, music in a home, my friend Dr. Sloan's Messiah -- and after the new year I'll actually sing in the Boar's Head and Yule Log Festival in Cincinnati, where my sister and parents live. So much holiday music in a month!

What does this season bring for you, in terms of live music? Will you be playing at a church? Your own, or another, or a number of them? Will you experience live music at a church, as an audience member? Will you experience a holiday concert in a secular setting? Or maybe you create live music at home with family and friends!

You might be doing many or all - or none! - of these things, but please pick the answer that best describes what you will experience this season, and then tell us about it in the comments. And have a happy holiday!

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December 20, 2019 at 08:10 PM · Will my children's Christmas pageant count? (lol)

December has been both busy and blessed.

We went to two nursing facilities over the weekend to bring gifts and sing christmas carols, and play our instruments to the residents there.

My family and I are going to a Christmas concert today (Friday), where we plan to sing along with the professional choir as a part of their audience participation portion of the program.

We will also be watching Nutcracker this Saturday (they have a live orchestra in the pit).

Our church has its own christmas celebration this Sunday, where there will be live music performed by the choir and instrument players like myself.

We also have a family reunion on Christmas day at a winter resort where folks are supposed to sing and share their musical talent with everyone.

December 20, 2019 at 08:33 PM · I'd say that kids' concerts count! And so nice to have a live-orchestra Nutcracker - a bit of a rarity these days!

December 20, 2019 at 09:40 PM · Since I no longer perform in public I will not be performing anywhere but in my home for my wife and the cats. The cats consider all my playing to be pre-dinner music so when I finish they demand to be fed - sort of like many human concert goers.

In Advent-Christmas-Epiphany I get out the Episcopal Hymnal and play through the tunes - even the hardly ever sung/performed ones.

December 20, 2019 at 10:32 PM · My violin teacher and her mom always have a Christmas Eve party with violin playing and singing!

December 20, 2019 at 11:03 PM · I tried to click on more than one button! I attended my cousin's son's holiday band concert (he's a percussionist in the 7th grade), I played the Corelli Christmas Concerto at my own church last Sunday, then will be playing at another church for Christmas eve mass, then an "best of opera" concert on NYE. It's a busy one! But no Nutcracker for me this year.

December 20, 2019 at 11:29 PM · 2nd option: "Live ... at my own church." I actually experienced this -- past tense -- instead of "will experience." It was an informal hymn-sing of 9 selections last Sunday, December 15 -- right after morning worship service. I picked out the selections 1 week ahead and emailed them to the organist, members, and regular attendees -- songs that keep Jesus, "the reason for the season," in view.

Although I've had invitations to play for these informal get-togethers, I've turned them all down -- mainly because I can't count on the room being warm and humidified enough for secure hand grip and finger traction at this time of year.

Beyond this, no Messiah performances to attend or take part in -- or any other live performances -- mainly because most of them are in the evening. I'm just not an evening/night person. "Been there, done that." Thanks to today's technology, I access a lot of performances online.

December 20, 2019 at 11:29 PM · Option 6: I am being paid to play in several performances :)

December 20, 2019 at 11:58 PM · The community orchestra I'm a member of will be playing our 2nd holiday concert this sunday. The first was just last night.

December 21, 2019 at 12:23 AM · Played a Messiah sing-along earlier in the month, subbing in a community orchestra in a secular venue. (Both of my usual orchestras have been idle since early November and do not resume until January.) I've cut back on my holiday performing commitments in the last two years because of ongoing shoulder issues. Unfortunately, no more live music this year because I'm visiting my parents, who actively dislike all music, live or recorded.

December 21, 2019 at 01:34 AM · Yes, I will be very much alive while I listen to music this holiday season!

December 21, 2019 at 04:50 AM · No Messiah performance for me this year. Our local orchestra did its usual"Holiday concerts" with small string orchestra. I did a custom arrangement of the Schubert Ave Maria for our featured singer. Meanwhile; every December my Mariachi plays at the Catholic churches, Posadas and Alabanzas for the Virgen of Guadalupe. Sometimes we play outside, or for a street procession, dodging small children or horses while playing. If it rains I use violin #4.

December 21, 2019 at 06:44 PM · I'm playing at my own church tomorrow but I played at three different churches over the past two weekends (my own and two others) as part of a paid orchestra, and will be playing at a fourth church on Christmas Eve.

December 21, 2019 at 08:39 PM · I'm still rather new to this so my audience choices are somewhat limited.

About 18 months ago, when I had a year of violin under my belt, I was visiting my grandchildren. My grandson, then six years old, asked me to play something. We were just having breakfast, and I had yet to have my coffee, butI agreed to play a tune. I got out my violin, played as well as I could in my pajamas, without coffee, and, let's facet - this was not my shining hour. When I was finished, I stood there as he stared at me with huge, wide eyes. "Wow," he said. "That was terrible!"

A bit humbled, I explained I wasn't warmed up as I put my violin away.

I didn't play anything for him between then and a couple of days ago.

So, now it's a year and a half later, and he's eight years old. I offered to play something for him for the holidays. Not skipping a beat while playing with some Legos he looked up and said, "Well, grandpa, are you warmed up yet?"

Sigh. . . . Happy Holidays.

December 21, 2019 at 11:12 PM · My community orch didn't have an Xmas concert because our fall concert got delayed to December.

I went to the Roanoke Symphony's holiday concert.

We always have holiday music at home, playing carols and such.

I don't go to church so I don't hear music there unless I have a gig. My daughter had a church gig this year.

December 22, 2019 at 12:40 AM · I don’t go to church any more ( endured a lifetimes worth at school) but my friend is singing with her choir at a church for midnight service and remembering how magical that can be, I will go to listen to them.

December 22, 2019 at 01:07 PM · Had to select "I'll experience live music at a church, not my own" as I was playing in an orchestral concert that was Xmas-based (Hess' Xmas overture etc.) that happened to be in a church. Although I don't think anyone is actually connected to that church.

December 23, 2019 at 03:45 AM · Mendy here. Every New Year’s Day for the past 10 years now in Houston, I’ve played all the Brandenburg Concertos with the local amateur musicians.

December 23, 2019 at 04:05 PM · My string quartet had been planning to play Corelli's Christmas Concerto at my viola teacher's winter recital. Unfortunately, everyone (including my teacher) but me experienced some challenges that caused our practices to be insufficient and the recital to be cancelled. We still don't have the concerto up to snuff but we've been enjoying keeping at it during our weekly practices. Maybe next year we'll be able to perform it.

December 23, 2019 at 06:56 PM · My community orchestra gave a holiday concert. My daughter participated in the Nutcracker Ballet which was accompanied by a LIVE orchestra.

December 24, 2019 at 05:03 PM · Our local kids' dance company switched this year to canned music. Can't really blame them. The event is a money maker for them and they didn't want to pay musicians more than prison wages. And the Nutcracker is hard! But in their defense they have a lot of volunteers helping, building sets, tailoring costumes, doing make-up. So it's hard to know what's right.

December 24, 2019 at 05:46 PM · Last year I finally got to do the full length Nutcracker on the first violin part. Yes, it is hard, like combining the lightness of Mozart or Mendelssohn with the technical difficulty of Tchaikovsky symphonies.

December 24, 2019 at 09:10 PM · Is everything about Church?

December 25, 2019 at 12:48 AM · The Nutcracker is hard, and the concertmaster solo (if it is played) is really heavy lifting.

December 26, 2019 at 06:43 AM · ??? There are only very small concertmaster solos in Nutcracker, and they’re not very hard. You might be thinking of the Sleeping Beauty solo which is occasionally interpolated in Nutcracker.

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