Tag: Christmas songs

Sing-along Messiah @ St. Jacobs Mennonite Church

I can’t believe I’ve come this far and never participated in a Sing-along Messiah. In the first half of my life I spent many years in choirs and loved being surrounded by the swell of voices singing different parts. The fact that I was second soprano might be responsible for my love of singing harmony (that and the Beatles).

I have enjoyed performances of the Messiah in years past but this was a completely new experience. As my adventures at open mics and song circles have always affirmed, there is nothing quite like participating.

So this is how it went: At the door I was given a score of Handel’s Messiah. There was a small chamber-sized orchestra at the front and everyone was seated according to their vocal parts (soprano, alto, tenor, bass). I was thankful to be surrounded by strong singers. It allowed me to drop out every so often when my sight-reading or note-finding abilities lagged behind, then join in when I could. This was good since I hadn’t had time to do much preparation or practice my part in advance.

If you’d like to prepare for the experience, one good tip (in addition to listening to a recorded version) is to visit a site that separates out the different parts so you can hear yours, for example: http://www.cyberbass.com/Major_Works/Handel_GF/Handel_Messiah.htm

Definitely want to make this an annual tradition!

Challenge #6: Write the next great holiday song

This week Lily Cheng (SAC Social Media rep) asked – “do you feel creatively drained or revved up wanting more”?

I feel it was a little like childbirth – definitely worth it but very glad it’s over! I’m looking forward to returning to a low pressure musical environment. I don’t mind drafting a song in a week. A whole song might come in an hour! But then I like to sit with it for a while, sing it in the car, rewrite it, add harmonies, get comfortable with it, before I would say it is finished. Once the challenge is over I may take a step back do just that with some of the songs I have drafted in the past 6 weeks.

I wrote a Christmas song a couple of years ago that, for me, captured the spirit of the season. I wasn’t sure I had another one in me but then I thought I’d try something different. For this challenge, I decided to write a holiday song without using the word Christmas. It is sung by someone who is pining for another person and can only think of all the Christmas symbols and traditions they won’t be enjoying, a kind of “Blue Christmas” feel to it. The temperatures the past few days have been in keeping with a Christmas-themed song – cold and snowy. I’ll submit a sketch of the song this week but hope to build on it between now and December.