Christmas is Coming!
“Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat. Please do put a penny in the old man’s hat. If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do, if you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you!”
-Traditional Christmas Carol
Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. With Halloween, my November birthday, Thanksgiving, and now my daughter’s birthday, I always have so much to celebrate! As a child, I especially looked forward to fall because my family and I would begin our Christmas show rehearsals. We were a 3 generational music group called “The Belles and Beau of Christmas,” made up of my Grandmother Ruth, mother, aunts, sisters, and cousins. We played and sang everything from “Deck the Halls” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” to “Angels We Have Heard on High” and “Silent Night.” Uptown Violins now continues this family tradition, but with a modern twist! Brittany has written beautiful violin arrangements to some of our old favorites, including “The Sugar Plum Fairy” from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, and genre mixing on “O Holy Night” and “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, as well as “Silent Night” interwoven with “Amazing Grace.” Her flirty winter medley made up of “Baby it’s Cold Outside,” “Santa Baby,” and “Let it Snow” is always a crowd pleaser! Filled with rich harmonies, elegance, innovative song combinations, and a hint of nostalgia, our beloved Christmas carols continue to be the highlight of our season! All of us still enjoy performing Christmas carols in our respective cities, with concerts ranging from corporate Christmas parties, to Christmas cantatas, to senior home recitals, and even symphony concerts!
In order to capture the essence of our childhood Christmas shows, I have written a few of our favorite memories. Enjoy!
“The Twelve escapades of Christmas”
12. Singing the intro to “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and watching the audience laugh when the youngest member of the group emerged as Rudolf with a red, strap-on nose. Rudolf would then gallop vigorously around the stage, pretending to lead Santa’s sleigh.
11. The Christmas show when my sister Kerri kicked off her shoes during the Rudolf dance, and the rest of us followed suit. Soon the stage was strewn with little black Mary Jane shoes!
10. Wearing matching Christmas dresses with my sisters sewn by my Dad’s mom, Carol, who wasn’t musical herself, but contributed her time and talent to the production. She never forgot to include the puffed sleeves!
9. Singing the sassy song “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” but being deathly afraid when “I saw my hippo hero standing there,” embodied by my two oldest cousins in a giant hippo costume!
8. In later years of the show, laughing at my sister Sheree who had to personify the back-side of the hippo while I dressed up as the over-sized head.
7. The older cousins building the base of a pyramid so a little cousin could jump off of thier backs to the line “Out Jumps Good Old Santa Claus.”
6. Performing a Nutcracker violin medley while my younger sisters and cousins marched around on stage dressed in soldier uniforms.
5. Leaning over, with my finger to my mouth, and saying “Ssshhhh” to my aunt when she sang a really high note in the middle of “Christmas is Coming.”
4. Dancing as hard as I could to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bell Rock,” even though my middle school dance moves needed a little tweaking…
3. Playing and singing the harmony part to “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and thinking I was very grown-up because I could carry an alto line for the first time!
2. Representing the 3 kings by presenting gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus.
1. My number one memory by far, however, didn’t actually involve me. After singing, playing, and dancing to the Christmas carols, near the end of the program my mom and her sister would always sing my personal favorite, “O Holy Night.” I will never forget standing backstage, listening in awe as mom’s beautiful soprano sailed over the audience. With her voice like an angel, she always knew how to convey the true meaning of the season: the birth of Christ.
Sadly, our childhood days are over, and we no longer crawl around on the floor in our fancy dresses building chimneys for Santa, wear outrageous red noses, or dress up as hippos during our Christmas programs. However, we still have a lot of fun performing our holiday favorites every Christmas season! A couple of years ago I even had the privilege of performing “O Holy Night” as the soloist for a Christmas Eve service at my church. While I sang about the birth of Christ from the balcony, my own newborn baby listened quietly from the pew, cradled in her father’s arms. I couldn’t help but think back on my own childhood days when I would listen to my mother sing the same song. I hope my daughter will have the privilege of continuing her grandma’s tradition someday!
First Fridays with Uptown Violins is hosted by Ashley Rescot, Director of Public Relations. Ashley received her Bachelor of Music from Baylor University, as well as minors in French and English. She taught English as a Fulbright scholar in France for a year, and then obtained her Master’s Degree in French Literature at the University of Kansas. She has taught French to all ages, including a Maman et Moi baby French class, as well as collegiate French levels I-IV. She teaches her own private violin studio and performs throughout the Midwest. Research interests include the relationship between music education and language acquisition, as well as the connection between music and other forms of artistic expression.