Friday, October 30, 2009
I’m one of these poor souls who gets into the Christmas spirit early. I usually start listening to Christmas CDs in my car around September. It’s really not my fault. There are two good reasons for this: 1) I’m a seamstress/quilter/crafter. 2) I’m a choir director’s daughter.
Everyone knows if you make some of your Christmas presents, you have to get started early. Many years have I ignored this caveat and spent late nights with little sleep trying to finish a project near the deadline. (Projects invariably take longer than I assumed they would.) So, as much as I get frustrated with seeing stores change over to Christmas merchandise the day after (or day of or days before!) Halloween, I need to get in the Christmas spirit if I am planning to make one or more of my gifts. I also need to be able to buy the holiday-related materials for my projects.
On top of that, I’m a choir director’s daughter. Choirs always have a Christmas program, and, well, you need lots of weeks to practice, so as a choir member, you’re used to singing Christmas music starting in October.
Now, we hear all about how hard it is to be a PK (Preacher’s Kid - just ask Matt and Rachel), but nobody ever talks about the wild lives of a Choir Director’s Kids. Here is a rundown of what you would have done as a CDK growing up in our family: For one thing, you're inducted into the choir early - like 12 years old. The choir needs another soprano or alto, and the choir director's daughters just fit the bill. If you play the piano, you will have to fill in for the organist when a substitute cannot be found. Church is your second home - Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, Wednesday nights, and some weekends. Your parents take you to the church on some Saturdays, where you go into the tiny dark choir room and take music out of file drawers and stack it in piles on a long pew in the sanctuary. Then you take all the sung anthems (choir music) out of the folios (music holder folders) and place the new anthems in said folios, in the order in which they will be used. While you’re there, you are even asked to tidy up the place! But it’s not all work and no fun. You can always find a few minutes to stand at the pulpit and pretend you’re the preacher. You can do a lot of things when you’re the only people in the building.
Of course, Christmas at church was special for Joy and me. I mean, really - the choir was singing our names! “While by our sheep, we watched at night, glad tidings brought an angel bright. How great our Joy! (echo: Great our joy). Joy, Joy, Joy! (echo: Joy, joy, joy). Praise we the Lord in heav’n on high! (echo: Praise we the Lord in heav’n on high!)” I’m not counting, but that’s 7 Joys in each refrain. My sister en”joy”ed every moment. I got her back, though, when we got to “I heard the bells on Christmas Day, their old familiar carols play...” Of course, those are within the lyrics - but titles were actually in the bulletin, where we could see our names in print. She got “Joy to the World” in the bulletin, but I got her back with “Carol of the Bells.” (I just don’t understand that nasty rumor that Joy and I were always competing.)
The sad thing is - I work on Sundays now and haven't been in a choir in over a decade. I also don't know if I have enough time to make any of my Christmas gifts this year. Nevertheless, it's in my genes to have my eyes focused on December 25 months ahead of time.
Halloween will be over tomorrow night, then it’s all speed ahead!