12/12/2011

Who Can't Sing a Christmas Carol?


My neighbor has a beautiful singing voice. Eileen is from Ireland and sings like a songbird. When I have heard her sing in the church choir, which consists of no more than 4 to 5 women so her voice, is clearly audible, she is always beautiful to listen to. She tells me when she was younger; she was an even better singer.

On a phone call recently, she asked me if I ever sang when I was younger. I told her I had but not all that often. She asked me if I was any good. I said that I was alright but I had a lot of sinus trouble so it caused me to have a lot of difficulties with my voice being consistent so I never really sang that much. She then wanted to know if I was ever in a choir, perhaps to see if she could recruit me into hers at church. I told her I was in middle school. I left out the part about how we were forced to as part of our music class. It was far more impressive to say simply yes. I made sure to utter something about not enjoying it all that much so that she wouldn’t ask me to join hers. Not needed as she never asked me! I also did not mention to her that I tried to lip sync in choir long before that term was coined. Or that I dreaded any instance when I had to sing and be clearly heard. I think it is safe to say I was not born with a singing gene.

But at this time of year, Christmas, being in tune is not where it is at. Having the spirit matters most! Oh yes, the angels they heard on high sang sweetly and were blessed by God with the sweetest sounding voices. But, let’s get real; it would not have been a true blessing if everyone sounded like them. Many of us are not so lucky. We have those voices that sound more like a fog horn and that are only legendary in our minds. They are star quality when the karaoke machine is loud enough to drown us out. We are the last to raise our hand to go up and sing on those nights at karaoke and it requires huge intakes of alcohol to get the nerve and lose all sense of sensibilities.

I love Christmas carols. But tunes like O Holy Night, with lines that go up as high as the pitch that nearly breaks glass, oh really. Who can hit that note and hold it? You almost have to wonder if the person that wrote it had an odd sense of humor and thought they would write this with an ungodly high note, sit back and laugh while everyone tried to hit it. Oh how funny it is to see folks strain their vocal chords with little success all to reach that one note. I do not attempt to reach that high chord; I simply stop singing, prior to that point and just pick up the song afterwards. I refuse to be laughed at trying to hit something I know I can’t achieve. Besides, I have too much fun listening to others try!

Every year the same wonderful tunes are played and sung repeatedly. They are the standards everyone loves and associates with Christmas. And yet, every musical artist feels compelled to capitalize on their popularity and release an album with these songs on their custom CD. They then tout it as their NEW Christmas release. Funny how the songs are still the same and often times, even the arrangements seldom vary. I think it is in good taste for all royalties from Christmas CD’s to go to charity. Why not, tis the season of giving, right?


The other day I was singing along with one of my current favorites, Michael Buble. He has a new CD out but with a voice like Frank Sinatra he is a tad different than many. His good looks are not hurting him either. Anyways, as I approached a light, I thought I was sounding pretty darn good so I turned down the volume to just get a good close earful of my sound. See, I was blessed with an ear for music. I can detect quality of sound extremely well. Maybe, I thought to myself, in my later years my pitch has improved some. I even went so far as to funnel my hand around my mouth so the sound came right to my ear and was not as distorted. Perhaps the sound would have been better distorted. All I can say is the way I sounded, wow, pretty raw. I took a real bite out of White Christmas!

But, when carolers come a knocking, who cares how they sound! Just the joy of seeing a group of folks outside your door, singing in unison for the season is wonderful. Most of the time when we have several folks outside of our door, it is either to sell magazine subscriptions, hand out religious pamphlets or ask for donations for the police/fireman ball. To have someone out there not asking for hand outs is wonderful. I just wish our dog would recognize that they are not holding doggie treats! He reacts like it is the mailman and does not respect them enough to stop barking while they are singing. We are forced to close the front door, go around through the garage door, literally walk outside and stand in the front yard with the carolers. At least we live in the south where in the month of December it is not blistery cold, usually. I think maybe this year, we should just let Charley go with them and ask them to bring him back when they are done. Unless of course someone wants to keep our 125 lb ball of energy under their Christmas tree!

When you hear Christmas tunes, I challenge you, sing, sing loud and hard. Put your passion into them, even if you do not sing well. I think God hears us, even those of us with a bad voice and His sense of humor is lit beyond compare by hearing us sing badly. Plus it truly is in lifting your voices in song that your spirit is lifted also. You do not have to have a heavenly voice to be touched by music or impact others. I love listening to others sing of Christmas tidings, Santa, the birth of Jesus, snowfalls over the holidays, etc… All these tunes remind me of Christmas’s long ago, the joy we are experiencing and what Christmas is all about. Who cares if we are just abit out of tune? The spirit of Christmas is found in the sounds of the season not in the quality of the sounds of the season!
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