Music at Christmas

by Under the Pines on December 14, 2009 · 0 comments

I love the music of December or at least most of it.

The music of the season fills me with memories of my own childhood and the years of my children’s childhoods.  Raffi’s Christmas Album was released in 1983 when I had a 1-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old.  We’ve played that music over and over again every Christmas since, delighting in the songs, singing them with gusto.  If you haven’t ever heard it, do yourself a favour and listen.  There is now a CD and MP3 format instead of an LP.  I can’t imagine a Christmas without his music.    And no, Raffi’s not paying me for this endorsement :).

When I was a teenager, I had two girlfriends I used to sing with.  We were in the church choir together and found our voices there.  We’d walk around our town in the dark evenings of December singing in harmony.  It was fun.  About 8 or 9 years ago I found a recording on CD of The New Christy Minstrels Christmas LP that one of my friends had.  There was one song on that recording that the three of us used to sing together quite often.  A year or so after getting the CD, my sons, Josh, harpist, and Robin, percussionist, arranged that song for harp and marimba and performed it at one of their Christmas concerts as a surprise Christmas present for me.  What a lovely surprise and present!

When December first arrives, I start to sing the music of my childhood – Sinterklaas songs about Saint Nicholas arriving to give presents to children in Holland.  When my mom was still alive, we’d sing them together over the phone.  Since her death 6 years ago, my sister and I sing them together on the phone.  It amazes me that we both remember most of the words.   And then the traditional North American carols start playing in my head.  Years ago I received a present of a recording of a Dutch children’s choir singing carols from many lands from monks in Cape Breton to thank me for help I’d given a neighbor    I’ve listened to that recording for almost 40 years.    It brings back the four white, cold Christmases I spent in Cape Breton and something about the voices and the songs triggers a memory of me as a 4-year-old finding an apple on my desk after a school Christmas concert  in  Holland.

In the spirit of the season and to perhaps help you establish memories for your children, I’ve posted a link to a handout I used when I offered my special Christmas Songs and Fingerplay classes at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre.  Enjoy!  and have fun with your children!

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