I have sung all my life. We sang in the car: “It's a Long Way to Tipperary” and “We’re on the Homeward Trail” and while washing dishes: “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore”. My sister Lori and I sang along with the radio and records. There was always music playing, and we were always singing (and dancing!) We asked and answered questions with snippets of songs, “Looks like rain.” “It isn’t raining rain, you know, its raining violets.” Our repertoire was wide ranging from opera to folk, musicals to gospel, parlor songs to the latest pop classics. “It was from Aunt Dinah’s Quilting Party” to “The Long and Winding Road”, from “Second Hand Rose” to “Un Bel Di”.
Our Christmases were filled with music. (There was no snow in my childhood, so we dreamed of a white Christmas and of walking in a winter wonderland; I was born in Southern California!) One record that stands out was the 10-inch LP titled “The Christmas Mood”. It was Christmas carols by Alfred Burt. “We dressed the house with holly bright” and “Caroling, caroling now we go, Christmas bells are ringing”. Even though there were many Christmas albums including: Handel’s “Messiah”, countless choirs singing about ”The Little Drummer Boy”, Robert Shaw’s “Many Moods of Christmas” and music boxes playing carols, the Alfred Burt carols defined our holidays. There was something infinitely nostalgic and poignant about these songs that were written as Christmas cards to be sent to friends.
Music has molded, defined and saved me. “How Can I Keep from Singing?” My Christmas begins in rehearsals and ends with performances right up through “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. I am grateful in this season of song that I have a voice to make a joyful noise. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without singing.