Merry December to all who are still observing the passage of time, happy solstice to those looking forward to shorter nights, welcome Yule, merry Christmas, happy holidays, and a joyful Great Conjunction (photo credit: the wonderful Dana Wayne)! It’s been awesome to watch Jupiter and Saturn draw closer to one another over the past weeks. And hey, I’m glad at least the planets are able to get together safely for the holidays!
This is the weirdest Christmas week I’ve had in a long time, since December is usually peak music season, and this year? Not so much. It feels quite strange to have wrapped all my holiday singing ten days before Christmas proper when, in a non-pandemic year, it usually goes until the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Day—longer if I’ve picked up a Christmas morning service.
But given the grim state of the pandemic and ever-present anxiety over the health and safety of loved ones, it’s just as well that I’m not trying to expend what little bandwidth I have trying to pack December with gigs. I just don’t feel safe making music with people I don’t already know and trust. It is absolutely possible to make meaningful music in small groups whist distanced and masked (see first video, below), but it’s not easy, and it’s certainly not without risk. It is also possible to make beautiful and moving virtual music experiences (see second video, below), but that’s even harder and requires even more resources from singers and already strapped arts organizations.
On the bright side, it’s been nice not to have to sing any Christmas songs that I loathe. And my final recording session of the year was rife with butt jokes (e.g., “butt thanks be to God,” “they are butt idols,” “we shall see his butt in heaven,” etc.), and I wasn’t the only one making them this time! I guess I’m not the only one who wants to put this pandemic… behind us. And with the arrival of two FDA-approved vaccines this month, that possibility is looking a bit closer to becoming reality!
So on that optimistic note, I’d like to share some of the beautiful seasonal things I’ve been able to be part of! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. And even though times are tough, I truly count myself among the lucky ones getting to do things like this.
Advent Lessons and Carols at All Souls’ Point Loma Episcopal Church, released 29 November, 2020
Tidings of Joy! a holiday concert by SACRA/PROFANA, released 12 December 2020
And if you’re looking for something virtual to do on Christmas Eve, All Souls’ Point Loma will be streaming the Christmas Eve service, in which I play a smallish choral role, at 7:00 pm and 11:00 pm Pacific time on their Facebook page, and I hope you’ll join us, if that is your sort of thing!
Also, if you happen to be reading this and find yourself in the fortunate position of being able to make some year-end donations and want to diversify your giving, here are some organizations that are very dear to me and do excellent work:
- SACRA/PROFANA donate here!
- San Diego Master Chorale donate here!
- Voices of Our City Choir donate here!
- San Diego Symphony Orchestra donate here!
- San Diego Opera donate here!
- Second Chance Dog Rescue donate here!
- Dachshund Relief Dog Rescue donate here!
- Jewish Family Services COVID-19 Relief Fund donate here!
I’m very much looking forward to having a bit of a break from everything between Christmas and New Year’s, taking some pretty walks with the Long Low Ladies, and tempering my expectations for my own productivity. Getting a goodly amount of sleep should make an appreciable difference! And probably going back to the whole “not making New Year’s resolutions” thing, since last year didn’t really work so well for many of us. Heh.
Wishing you health, light, a joyful anything-that-you-celebrate, and a 2021 whose excellence far surpasses 2020!
Libby & Jeff & Hildegard & Clara