By Daniel Thomas, Church Musician
Another year is rolling up to its close, and once again we prepare our hearts and minds for the anticipation Advent and the coming joy of Christmas. And once again, we prepare our ears and voices for the abundance of music that the season provides.
What does music mean to you? What role does it play in your life, both inside and outside of worship? Whether we recognize it or not, music is an omnipresent part of the human experience. It is a universal language, and even the smallest snippet of music can trigger the strongest emotions. Music can simultaneously represent the shared experience of all humankind and the most personal experience of one individual. One cannot imagine a world without music any more than a world without color, or smell, or taste.
Within both the spiritual and secular Western traditions, Advent and Christmas are the most celebrated seasons and holidays of the year. Within them you find the most ritualized social practices, and they are the time, more than any other, when people at least give voice to our shared humanity and our wishes for peace, love, and unity. So it is no coincidence that music – the one performing art that can be practiced by anyone, anywhere, anytime, that can be both celebratory and introspective, that can give voice to the individual while still embracing the whole of humanity – plays such an important role in these seasons.
It is also no coincidence that the music of the season – both religious and secular – brims with those same themes – peace, love, and unity. As we move through Advent and Christmas, I hope we all can reflect on music’s power and beauty – not just the art form itself, but the role it plays in nourishing our minds, our bodies, and our souls. And if your favorite Christmas song comes on the radio, don’t be afraid to sing along!
MEANWHILE, in my last article I wrote about the skill for self-promotion that most artists must possess to be a success in their field, and mentioned that I am a reluctant participant in that area. So naturally, this month I’m going to do some shameless self-promotion.
Rebecca and I will be performing with two of our dear friends as The MistleTones at the Gateway Theatre in San Francisco on December 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, and 17 at 7:30 PM. What are The MistleTones, you might ask? It’s a little tricky, but here goes:
We’re a vocal quartet who plays handbells doing holiday-themed parodies of classic rock and pop songs.
It’s a niche market, I know.
So, what can you expect from The MistleTones? Music, laughs, and holiday spirit for the whole family. Four-part harmony and handbells. New takes on songs by everyone from The Beatles to Styx to Lady Gaga. A five-minute version of the Claymation classic “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” And some lovely versions of actual Christmas songs as well.
So if you’re up for a jaunt to the city, come check us out! Tickets are just $25 and available at www.42ndstmoon.org.
(end shameless plug)
Christ the Good Shepherd
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