Sunday, November 15, 2009

Time for the Holidays!

It seems every year the holidays come sooner and sooner - it's a universal comment I hear from friends and family. I was recently at a local mall and Santa was already accepting a variety of Christmas wishes long before Thanksgiving has even come into focus! In some ways I sympathize, because I too am starting to look at scores for the upcoming Colonial Symphony holiday concert on December 6th at the Community Theatre in Morristown. I feel like I'm now surrounded by both decorations and sounds of the holidays everywhere I go as a result!

Truth be told: I don't mind too much, and in fact, actually kind of like it all. Firstly, if taken in a purer sense, this time of the year is always about giving to others. I also love the beauty of lights and the decorations - everything feels festive and as if we are making the best of the circumstances with which we are faced, whether challenging, or sometimes very challenging. I also just am reminded every year of how I love the music of the season.

In an earlier blog from a year ago, I posted about the quality of holiday music and how, while much of it is perhaps not written with the indisputable genius of a Beethoven or Brahms symphony, not all music must be at the highest intellectual level to generate emotional response, especially when dealing with the tremendous amount of color that an orchestra can offer. The sound of harp, strings, brass, winds, and percussion together performing works that we've grown up singing, that we've grown up hearing as a part of our seasonal experience, no matter our religious background, give us a chance to celebrate a time of year that has the opportunity to bring us together in a manner that is respectful and caring. With all the forces driving us apart as friends and neighbors, isn't it wonderful to have a concert that is truly unifying around themes of beauty, kindness, laughter, energy, health, and love? To me, this is cool.

As I look at music by Tchaikovsky - some selections from the Nutcracker and from his 4th symphony, I'm filled with a sense of fun. I look at Johann Strauss's Emporer Waltz, or Vaughan Williams Greensleeves, or an arrangement of Walking in a Winter Wonderland - it makes me feel good. I also am excited to be working again with the students of Morristown High School's Choir along with the gifted Michael Nuzzo, their director. Hearing young artists get their first taste of what it is to make music next to a world class symphony orchestra is truly astonishing, especially when we're doing music by Joseph Haydn from The Creation - one of the most amazing works in in our collective history. Or simply leading a holiday sing-a-long where an entire audience joins in the music making process. Hearing people sing songs they love together along with an incredible orchestra is wonderful - you should check this out!

Beyond, I know that if you listen to live music that you like, your immune system is boosted by up to 20% by a variety of quantifiable metrics. This is something that I think right now given H1N1 is something that makes me feel especially good - we can all use a little help!

I hope you will join me for a wonderful evening of amazing music, of laughter, and of family as we come together for the greatest sounds of the holidays, played by this fantastic orchestra. Just looking at this music makes me feel great - I can't wait to share it with you in live space!

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