It’s that time of year again—a season filled with joy, wonder, hope… and for musicians, raw terror.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Like most people I absolutely love all the joy, wonder and hope. I love the closeness of family, the laughs of sharing memories, and finding that perfect present for my sweetie. And I love sense of religious joy that pervades the season, as we seem more willing to let Light into our lives.
But I’m also a musician and I know the challenges December can bring. The accumulated run of concerts, worship services, pageants, and other performances can leave you feeling more burned out than a year-old yule log. Come Christmas Day I’m usually hiding under my bed… with a bottle of tequila.
The good/bad dichotomy is amplified when you are a professional caroler… as I was in my younger days.
In terms of the good, you personally bring the holiday spirit to people. For example, when we were caroling through the airport, travelers would always brighten when we passed by, forgetting their delays, lost luggage, or general fatigue. In various malls, shoppers would immediately surround us with huge smiles, sometimes joining in if the song was familiar.
Plus, we were privileged to sing some wonderful music—tunes that have survived the centuries because they are good. Years later, it’s still a point of pride for me that I can rattle off the words to most of the verses to nearly every Christmas carol the little baby Jesus has ever heard.
But over time, and uncounted hours of caroling… well, let’s just say that I’ve seen my share of Christmas-related disasters. Continue reading