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Here’s a Christmas note from Audrey:
I couldn’t figure out just one special memory of Christmas but they all seem to revolve around music and sharing. You can pick and choose what you want to use, if any.
The song “The Carol of the Bells” will always be the most important Christmas song to me. I remember my sister brought her 5 year old sister (me) with her to high school choir practice (Medford, MA High School) one evening in the mid 50’s. They were practicing that song. I sang alto with my sister. I felt very important. Some of the other members of the choir gave me some nice compliments and said they couldn’t believe someone as young as I could sing such a difficult piece. WOW! To this day, it’s not the Christmas season unless I hear “Carol of the Bells” at least once a day. My sister always brought me down to Boston to see all the lights, especially the ones on Boston Common. It was such a special time for me.
The next one, we were still living in Medford, MA and I was about 6 years old. When I came downstairs in the morning, there beside the tree was a cream-colored electric keyboard that looked like a miniature organ with a big red bow on it. I learned many piano pieces on that keyboard and to this day, I still think about what the songs sounded like when I played them on that instrument.
I remember the year that “The Little Drummer Boy” came out. I brought the record in to school and the teacher played it. A few of my friends and I stood in front of our class during our little presentation and sang the song, at the teacher’s request. I felt so important!
Many years later I ordered a set of record albums from Reader’s Digest….. Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops Christmas concert albums. I had the first stereo record player I had bought. I put those albums on starting the day I received them, and played them every day throughout the entire month of December. I did that every year until about 12 years ago when circumstances prevented me from doing so. Last year I pulled the albums out, only to find that my “trusty” turntable had quit working. I guess it’s going to be a while before I can hear them again —– not until I get a replacement turntable. I’m glad I have a good stack of CD’s and tapes, but nothing replaces that Boston Pops set.
My daughter was born just before Christmas 1975. The hospital was all decorated, and one day a small group of nuns came through and sang carols. My daughter celebrated her first Christmas at the age of 6 days, so tiny and new. That was a feeling that only a new mother can describe. I think of holding that tiny, sweet baby every Christmas eve.
Several years ago, shortly after I moved to a new state, I met a woman named Midge. She was like another mother to me. She wanted me to learn a certain song because her son used to sing it for her. He had passed away but the song always brought good memories to her. She gave me a CD of the song so I could learn it. I got to sing it for her exactly twice before she suddenly passed away. A few years ago, the choir director of our local Choral Society asked me to sing a solo at the Christmas concert. (The concert theme was “A Mary Christmas”). There was no doubt in my mind what to sing. I enlisted the aid of a friend to play the guitar and I sang “Mary, Did you Know?” While I was singing, not another sound was heard in the church auditorium. It was such a moving experience, one I’ll never forget.
Christmas has always been a special occasion to me. Besides the original meaning, it has given me the chance to buy or make gifts and cards for everyone who was special to me. As the years go by, that list has grown longer and longer. I tend to spread the gifts out during the year because birthdays are also very special to me. I now have 5 wonderful grandchildren and though they live almost 2,800 miles away, I make it a point to send them gifts – usually home-made or recycled —- at Christmas and their birthdays, and other special occasions. At this point in my life, I don’t want to receive any gifts. The things I want I can do without, and the things I need are too expensive for anyone I know to get. I share my singing with lots of different people for many diverse occasions. I always thank The Ultimate Gift-Giver for that talent that was bestowed upon me. I’m not so arrogant and self-centered any more so I can be more sincere and natural when I entertain. I enjoy other people singing and making music as well, but it’s still not Christmas unless I hear “Carol of the Bells” at least once a day.
Thank you, Dick, for sharing my love of music, for its impact on our lives.
Merry Christmas, Fröelich Weinachten, Göd Jul, Mele Kelikimaka, Kuri sumasu,
Buona Natale, Joyeux Noël, Felíz Navidad
— Many Waters –