Tuesday, September 22, 2015

BEHIND THE SONG - Singing Carols in August

Rae sings at The National Gallery for her first Stairwell Carollers Concert
Rae sings at The National Gallery for her first Stairwell Carollers Concert
This is my first Christmas season as a Stairwell Caroller.

The Stairwell Carollers, Knox Presbyterian, Ottawa, 2014
The Stairwell Carollers, Knox Presbyterian, Ottawa, 2014

It's also the first time I've ever played Christmas music in August on purpose.

One of the ways I fit music practice into my overly busy schedule is to listen to the practice files at work. There's nothing quite like writing a briefing note or doing economic research with "The First Nowell" on repeat in my earphones!

Or, I flip through my sheet music with my toddler on my lap on weekend mornings, coffee steaming beside me - as I explain what a page and monarch are and where exactly forth they went together.

Then, my older son wants to decode the notes on the piano, and wonders why the left hand's notes have to have a different clef than the right hand's, and why is it called a clef, anyway?

At which point, he asks impatiently to play a video game instead.

The cat complains meowingly as I hit the high notes, the dog barks along, and my home is once again a madhouse.

Manger Scene
Manger Scene
Christmas carols tell many stories. I distinctly remember learning Away In A Manger when I was about five, and caring for that little baby who didn't cry, surrounded by lowing cattle and hay. Or, falling in love with In Dulci Jubilo when I was fifteen. Or, memorizing the bass and treble clefs with my fingers on the piano keys at some age in between.

Sheet music for Wassail
Sheet music for Wassail
Music has been a cornerstone of my life for as long as I can remember, and I'm proud to say that I've made it a cornerstone of my children's lives too. They will never remember learning the lyrics to Christmas carols, because they will always have known them, thanks to listening to me practice them for a third of the year.

"Hark, hear the bells."

Rae P. - Soprano

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You can also email your questions to me - info (at) stairwellcarollers (dot) com.
Holly :)

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