1) If you had to choose CDs as a soundtrack for the Christmas season, what would they be?
On the sacred side, I have a CD made a several years ago by the Fabulous Choir at Large Church. I was finishing seminary and didn’t have time for the extra rehearsals required to be on the recording, but I love listening to it. It takes me back to the music we sang on Christmas Eve, something I miss very much. I have two copies, one for the car and one for the office!
And my “bring the holiday season blood pressure down” listen is definitely A Winter’s Solstice V, which has been in my car CD player almost constantly.
2) How do you feel about singing all the verses of “The First Noel?”
Our hymnal has six, and I enjoy singing all of them, but I find most congregations peter out after 2 or 3 unless there is a strong choir supporting the effort. What would they do if we gave them the original 9?
And, seriously, this is one we probably don’t need to sing:
Between an ox stall and an ass,
This Child truly there He was;
For want of clothing they did Him lay
All in a manger, among the hay.
3) “O, Come All Ye Faithful” has a lot of verses, too. Which is your favorite?
When I was a little girl, I learned the first verse in Latin at my Southern Baptist kindergarten (we were still progressive in those days, I guess), so it was my favorite for a long time. As a grown-up singer, I loved “Sing, choirs of angels,” because who can resist the incredible descant? But at Large Church I learned to love another verse, the one we sang each year without the organ. I was driving home from a meeting up north last year on December 23rd, a terrible day for a meeting, and feeling desperate after a disheartening meeting earlier that week to look at the church budget for the coming year, wondering if I had gotten it all wrong. Should I even be doing what I was doing? That CD was playing in the car, and the sun was shining so brightly it hurt on that bitterly cold day. And I heard that a capella verse as if I had never heard it before:
Child, for us sinners poor and in the manger,
We would embrace Thee, with love and awe;
Who would not love Thee, loving us so dearly?
And then I knew better.
4) What music do you play while opening presents?
In recent years, A Charlie Brown Christmas.
5) Which carols do you consider to be Christmas Eve essentials?
O, Come All Ye Faithful
O Little Town of Bethlehem
(Not that there aren’t plenty of others, but without those, I would really feel disappointed.)
and a Bonus Question:
6) What, if any, is your favorite secular Christmas song?
This is really a winter song, but I absolutely love “Sleigh Ride” and its sound effects (especially the whinnying horse!). Somewhere we have an Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Christmas CD, and that will definitely be played on Christmas Day.
If you play this, please leave a comment here and I promise to come and visit!