What gets you in the Christmas spirit? How do you switch from regular day-to-day you to a festive ‘Tis the Season! you? For me, music plays a big part in it. I know people who get really excited when the local radio station starts playing holiday music nonstop. I know people enjoy shopping a little bit more when the same music is playing in the stores. In the Chorus of Westerly, when we start rehearsing for our annual Christmas Pops concert, that’s the moment I am ready to celebrate the season. If you’re a singer and want to get in the spirit by making the music but aren’t a part of an ensemble, there are ways you can still participate in bringing the holiday spirit to yourself and others. Here are a few suggestions:
- Attend a Messiah Sing
These are fun. Messiah sings (or Sing-A-Longs) are events where singers of any level of expertise gather to sing through Handel’s “Messiah” piece. Part I of Messiah is typically called “the Christmas portion” as it is frequently performed during Advent, so it’ll be the bulk of what is played at one of these events. Look in your local newspaper or if you follow a bunch of your local arts organizations on social media, you’ll most likely find a Messiah Sing event hosted by a choir or orchestra, or even a church choir. If you plan to attend one of these events all you have to do is decide which voice part you’d like to sing and bring a score if you own one. More likely than not the host will have copies of the score available to borrow for free or a small fee. If you’re lucky you may even get to hear a partial orchestra and soloists playing along, so it’ll be like attending a concert but also being able to participate in it from your seat.
- Go Caroling!
Going caroling is not a popular thing to do these days, let’s be honest. BUT if you and a few willing friends can get together one night and hit up a few houses in your neighborhood with the gift of song, the quality time spent with people you like is worth it. I would suggest choosing a neighborhood that one of your singers lives in, have him/her ask permission ahead of time from a few people they know in the neighborhood who would like to be visited with some Christmas songs, pick a few familiar songs for your “playlist,” pick a starting note, and go!
Another way you can gather to sing Christmas songs is to make it a party. Have one or two people pluck out the accompaniment on the piano to sing songs while you invite others to eat, drink, or decorate sugar cookies.
- Attend a Church Evensong Service
In the Anglican church at this time of year you’ll find out that an Evensong (or Evening Prayer) service is very choral heavy. Most of the service will be sung from selections in the Book of Common Prayer. Similarly, the Catholic and Lutheran church has Vespers. If the church is a peaceful and enjoyable space for you, going to an Evensong would be a great way to feed your spirit and soul on a number of levels.
- Release a Christmas Album
Are you a pop singer? You have to add a Christmas album to your discography. It’s totally in your contract. Just kidding.
Not a musician by any means? It’s okay, you can still enjoy the holidays. This is the best time to experience great musical theater. There are productions of A Christmas Carol, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Rockettes in New York City, and more. Do a search of theaters and entertainment venues near you and you should be able to find a holiday-themed show to go watch.
And if you’re lucky, you might see Santa Claus ride around town on a motorcycle. I can gladly say that it’s happened to me twice and made me laugh really hard every time. If running into a cool Santa on a bike doesn’t get you in the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what will.
[ Image used with permission from Gerd Altmann]