Printer-friendly version
The Weekend Vote weekend vote: Have you had a 'musical moment' this holiday season?

December 26, 2009 at 10:31 PM

When the holidays arrive, music blossoms everywhere. Merchants play carols on loudspeakers, friends gather together to sing door-to-door, children assemble on stages everywhere to sing, people toss coins into the open cases of buskers more willingly, choirs hire an orchestra to accompany them in ambitious productions....why?

Actually, it's no mystery why music comes out of hiding on special occasions and holidays: it's one of the most powerful means of expressions we humans possess.

Sure, we roll our eyes, playing Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride for the umpteenth time, or hearing "Jingle Bells" on the loudspeakers in Walgreens. Yet through all the saturated airwaves, hurried and harried preparations, overbooked schedules, it can be possible to catch a few moments of transcendence. Did you?

I had a few:

After the performance for the public school outreach project where I taught all semester, I stood there by the stage, quite exhausted from herding the over-excited children -- all beginners -- around for several hours and making sure chaos didn't reign completely. They had performed very well. Suddenly, a little girl who'd been in my class ran up to me, threw her arms around my waist and exclaimed, "That was the funnest time I've EVER had!"

Singing and playing a spontaneous "Feliz Navidad" at the big party at our very small place, with friends gathered around the piano with violins, guitars, a mandolin and many voices.

All the Suzuki students and teachers in our group, playing "Shalom Chaverim" together in a round. It gets me every time.

My son, singing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" with 120 of his very diverse classmates -- and realizing that all those fourth-graders were singing together, and in tune.

The bell choir on Christmas Eve -- so well in sync on this night that their separate chimes became a single thread.

A friend showed me this moment, of some east-coast musicians who brought their instruments outside during a snowstorm -- made my day!

Did you have any such moments? What were they? Please answer the vote and share!


From Sara Richards
Posted on December 26, 2009 at 11:35 PM

 I teach violin in my school district and every year we have a big concert with all the students in all the strings programs in all schools. Every year, it's a huge stress for me, having to make up the program, get all the kids rehearsed and make sure the orchestra is ready. Usually our concert is at the end of the school year but this year we decided to do it in December...

It was the best concert I've ever been in/to! This year I'm not conducting the senior level orchestra, so that was gone, and it was my first year with a beginner class. I was so worried for them because they were so scared, but when they played I just couldn't believe it! Jolly Old Saint Nick and Jingle Bells has never sounded so good... I almost cried :) I was so proud of them and their little violins.


From Ophelia Larson
Posted on December 27, 2009 at 7:07 PM

I can't believe I'm sharing this but...instead of holiday cards, we decided to put together a couple of 'music videos' for friends and family.

We covered the Saturday Night Live Christmas song skit ("Christmas time is near"). I played my electric violin in place of the ukelele - we had the keyboard and the bad dancing. I should add that I was wearing my new SNUGGIE to add to the madness.

We also did a version of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas", with my son and I on violin and husband and daughter singing. The whole thing was ridiculous, but it gave everyone a good laugh!

From Alison S
Posted on December 27, 2009 at 8:46 PM

This Christmas the community choir I sing with teamed up with a group of blind and partially sighted singers for a charity performance in aid of RNIB and Action for Blind People. It was hard to retain my composure under the stage lights while I listened to the blind choir sing The Lamb by Tavener and Ave Maria by Rachmaninov (especially those bass notes) and they sounded better than anything I could find on youtube. Is it worth mentioning that this was the first time I have ever been asked to do an encore? (Never in all my years of playing the violin….hmm).

From Roland Bailey
Posted on December 27, 2009 at 10:04 PM

I have been taking lessons for six months now, and on December 12, just a couple of months shy of my sixtieth birthday, I was in my first recital.  This was put on by the shop where I take my lessons, Williams Fine Violins in Nashville.  The venue was St. Augustine's Episcopal Chapel on the Vanderbilt University campus.

I played a duet of "I Saw Three Ships" with another adult student, and later played in three group pieces:  "Skaters Waltz", "Auld Lang Syne", and "Jingle Bells".  I think I did okay.  I didn't mess up on the duet; I lost my place a couple of times on the group pieces, but was able to fake it until I caught back up.  I must say that playing on the stage is quite different than practicing at home!

Now it is time to get back to my lessons and practice.  I am learning "Allegretto" in Suzuki Book One.  I will also start my second semester of Music Theory at Blair School at Vanderbilt in January.

Posted on December 28, 2009 at 12:10 AM

here in the east, there is a TV station that has a YULE LOG burning on the screen for four hours with Christmas music in the background; a tradition for 50 years....I found myself actually listening as I sipped my one, two, three cups of freshly ground java...

Then, appropriately "wired"; my daily practice of scales and  Bach gave way to Christmas music...guess you had to be there

nopity.gif No Pity image by TGrosjean

From John Cadd
Posted on December 29, 2009 at 7:42 PM

Just an hour ago I looked up Harp Guitars and found a Norwegian maker .The sound sample played "I`m dreaming of a white Christmas " with ukeleles and slide guitars.I had a picture of people in grass skirts on a sun drenched beach pining for some "real"winter weather. Ahh--- zees crazy Norwegian guys.Yah?

This entry has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.

Facebook YouTube Instagram Email is made possible by...

Shar Music
Shar Music

Pirastro Strings
Pirastro Strings

JR Judd Violins
JR Judd Violins

Los Angeles Philharmonic
Los Angeles Philharmonic

Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases
Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases

Anne Cole Violin Maker
Anne Cole Violin Maker Shopping Guide Shopping Guide

Metzler Violin Shop

Southwest Strings

Bobelock Cases

Johnson String Instrument/Carriage House Violins

Jargar Strings

Bay Fine Strings Violin Shop


Los Angeles Violin Shop


String Masters

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Laurie's Books

Discover the best of in these collections of editor Laurie Niles' exclusive interviews. Interviews Volume 1 Interviews Volume 1, with introduction by Hilary Hahn Interviews Volume 2 Interviews Volume 2, with introduction by Rachel Barton Pine