Friday, December 4, 2009
For me, the best part of being a musician is Christmas Music. As a senior in High School, I was in something like seven different performing groups, all with their different performing schedule. I remember counting them up and realizing I had twenty-one performances in the space of seventeen days, and spent all of December running from one performance to the next. I kept two or three different uniforms in my car at all times, and I vividly remember changing from my red, white and black Jordan Symphony Orchestra tuxedo uniform into my black and white madrigal jumpsuit while driving madly through the streets of downtown Salt Lake City.
I have many amazing Christmas music memories: playing with the youth symphony at the Festival of Trees Opening, running from ward party to ward party with the Madrigals, playing Leroy Anderson's "A Christmas Festival" so many times that I think I could still play it without music.
My favorite Christmas music ritual was Bingham High's annual "Candlelight" concert. As a young child, I would come to the concert, listen to the bell choir, see all the performers lit with candlelight, and anxiously look forward to participating in the concert myself. As a performer, Candlelight was a crazy, chaotic mess of uniform changes and running from place to place, hoping desperately that my violin wouldn't get stepped on and that I would remember the Madrigals choreography steps! The evening culminated with the orchestras, choirs, and alumni combining for one huge rendition of the"Hallelujah Chorus." It may not have been the most-rehearsed performance, but it was always the most crowning musical moment of Christmas. The concert is still performed every year, but I have never gone back. Somehow, I don't want the memories I have of that concert to be changed by the way it is now. (Because of course, the concert couldn't possibly be as good now as it was when I was in High School. Don't be silly!)
Now that I'm a mom and have a little violinist of my own, the reward for the endless hours of practicing comes in watching my daughter take part in the Christmas performing rituals. The first concert of the Christmas season is always the "Festival of Trees" and though its been over ten years since I last performed there, watching Abby's violin group still feels exactly the same. Getting there yesterday was a crazy chaotic mess all of its own- the baby had an ear infection and cried all the way to Salt Lake, I left my debit card in the ATM machine, and we rushed in the room with less than two minutes to spare. (Not to mention the fact that said violinist daughter wandered off and got completely lost after the concert, but we won't talk about that...) Even still, watching the little violinists perform on stage brought back a nostalgia I haven't felt in years and left me hoping that someday, my kids will be able to know the joy that is being a musician during the holidays.