Dear Capital Chorale Members,
How much fun was our first concert?! I just couldn’t quit smiling for our guest performers! Lots of very nice feedback! I’d like to thank Sara Madrid for heading up the volunteer staff for the concert and everyone that helped. What a great team! You have no idea how much we appreciate everyone’s efforts to make the concert run so smoothly!
Hopefully you’re back in rehearsal with us for our Christmas Concert coming up on December 16th at St Mary’s Cathedral. We’re always so fortunate to sing in that wonderful venue.
Here’s some information on what’s going on with your choir;
Holiday Party Plans
We all get pulled in so many directions during the “typical” Holiday Season that we’ve decided to have our Holiday gathering on Tuesday, January 15th starting at 6pm in the Allison Hall of the First United Methodist Church. Afterwards we’ll move right into the music room for rehearsal. This will be a potluck event with the board providing the main dish. Members with the last name ending in A-O, please bring a side dish. P-Z dessert. This is ONLY a guideline. If you have a “signature” dish that doesn’t fall within those parameters, please bring it instead! WE LOVE FOOD!
Barb Boyer has made and donated a beautiful hummingbird quilt for our yearly raffle fundraiser. We’ll be selling tickets for it all season and draw the winner at our Spring Concert. The tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5. I’m blessed to have last year’s quilt. Truly a special piece.
We are also developing some new fundraisers coming up so watch for more information!
The “In Praise of the Village” concert brought in $1004.51, $250 of which we donated to our Special Guests.
Christmas Concert and Rehearsals
Rehearsals have already begun for our Christmas Concert at St. Mary’s Sunday December 16th at 7:30 pm. The final rehearsal is scheduled for Saturday, December 15th from 12 noon to 3:30 pm. This is typically our most attended concert and is free to the public. We, of course, accept donations at the door for those so inclined. The music is beautiful and in keeping with the venue, primarily sacred.
As always, rehearsals are from 7-9 pm in the music room at FUMC. There are opportunities for solos for this concert. A smaller 8-member piece and other solos, so please step up and share your voices. Try-outs will be discussed during rehearsals.
Our own Barb Boyer has shared one of her charming “Becca” stories for our Christmas Season! Enjoy!
Becca and Christmas Music
The Christmas Shepherd
“So you can’t start listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving?” Becca asked. “Who made up that rule? The same person who says you can’t wear white after Labor Day?” Before I go on, I need to explain something. Becca is my 25 pound mini Australian Shepherd. She is very opinionated and I don’t know where she gets her information.
“It’s just a rule somebody made up,” I told her. “I like Christmas music, but if I start listening to it too early, I get tired of it before Christmas even gets here. So I made up my rule that I wouldn’t start listening until I drove down to my friends’ house on Thanksgiving. It kinda got me in the right mood.”
“Well, then why are you singing Christmas songs now? You even started before Halloween. I didn’t hear you sing any Halloween songs. Why didn’t you sing Halloween songs? Huh? Huh?”
Becca can get a little annoying sometimes. It’s generally best to ignore her and she has a short attention span. But sometimes I answer before I think.
“I do listen to Halloween songs, at work. I like the Bach’s ‘Toccata & Fugue in D Minor’, Mussorgsky’s ‘Night on Bald Mountain’, Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain…’.”
“No, no,” Becca insisted, “Halloween music!”
“You mean like, ‘Monster Mash’, ‘Witchy Woman’ and the ever popular ‘Thriller’?”
“Yeah, and ‘Werewolves of London’, that’s the best because of the howling.” Becca clearly has her own tastes.
“Yes, I like listening to all of those, but most of those aren’t meant for singing by a choir. And we have to start practicing Christmas music as soon as we can so we’ll be prepared for our concert in December.”
“So what are you singing? ‘While Shepherds Watched their Flocks at Night’, ‘The Shepherd’s Carol’ or ‘What Child is This’?” “There are Shepherds in that song,” Becca said. “I’m a Shepherd so the carols are about me.” In Becca’s world, just so you know, everything tends to be about her.
“Becca,” I said, “the shepherds in the carols are people, not dogs, who herd their flocks of sheep from pasture to pasture.”
“Exactly,” said Becca. “But I’m an Australian Shepherd, so I move Australians from place to place.” Clearly, she wasn’t getting the concept.
“Becca, you’ve never seen a sheep or an Australian in your life. And Australians are people, not sheep. Just because you’re called an Australian Shepherd, doesn’t mean you…”
Becca interrupted. “So are you singing carols about shepherds, or not?” she demanded. “I want to hear some howling.”
“We’re singing ‘Lully, Lulla, Lullay’ by Philip Stopford; ‘Hodie, Hodie’ by Dave and Jean Perry; ‘Peace, Peace’ together with ‘Silent Night’ by Rick and Sylvia Powell; and ‘Hope for Resolution’ by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory. And a few others. I don’t know the whole list yet.”
“Hodie sounds like howling,” Becca said. “What’s it about?”
“It’s about Jesus Christ being born. The word hodie means ‘today’,” I told her.
“Still sounds like howling to me. Hmph. What about the ‘Lully’ piece?”
I told her that the carol dated from the 16th century. It was part of a mystery nativity play called the Pageant of the Shearman and Tailors. The original manuscript for the lyrics dates to 1534, although there are references to this song as early as 1392. The music was added later by Thomas Mawdyke. After the bombing in Coventry in 1940 during WWII, the BBC broadcast from the bombed out cathedral at Christmas, concluding with the singing of the carol from within the ruins of the cathedral. Then in 2008 Philip Stopford rewrote it and named it ‘Lully, Lulla, Lullay’.
“It’s a rock-a-bye lullaby that tells the story of King Herod when he ordered all male infants under the age of two to be killed,” I said.
“Seriously? Why would you make a lullaby, let alone a Christmas carol, about that?”
“The song expresses a mother’s lament for her doomed child,” I told her. “Herod, at the time, was hunting for the Christ child and by killing all young males he figured it was an easy way to get rid of his competition.”
“A baby? He must have been nuts,” Becca said.
“Well, he was scared of the threat that this child would change the world. And it didn’t work, in any event. Joseph and Mary escaped just in time.”
“Well, that’s just a little too depressing for me,” Becca said. “What else are you singing? What about ‘Hope for Resolution’? That sounds more promising.”
“Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory wrote the song in 1994 to commemorate the end of apartheid in South Africa,” I told her. “It is dedicated to the memory of Nelson Mandela.”
“Well, that’s all fine and good, but where are the Shepherd songs? Huh? Dogs are part of Christmas. They must of shown up at the stable when Jesus was born. Why can’t you sing about the little lamb that sings to the Shepherd dog. You know, the ‘Do You Hear What I Hear’ song.”
“Becca, the lamb sings to a shepherd boy, not a dog. But,” I put my hand in front of her face to stop her objections, “I know the boy probably had a dog with him. I’ll talk to Anne about adding something about shepherds into our concert. I’m sure she’ll agree.”
Becca looked pleased at that. “Maybe I could bark ‘Jingle Bells’ for you. Ask Anne, please please?” It was time to distract Becca.
“Want a treat, Becca?” She raced off to the kitchen where I keep her treats, Christmas songs about shepherds forgotten. I think I’ll start practicing my songs at my shop instead of at home.
Blessings for your Christmas and Holiday Season!
President, Cheyenne Capital Chorale