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Christmas Preparations

Updated: Nov 12, 2022

It was good to be in familiar surroundings in our usual venue. Back to our comfort zone where we know where we are sitting and are well spread out so Ricardo can hear us all clearly, although that can be a mixed blessing!

At the start of the evening we called in the reindeer and I think I heard them call back. Hmmm! Once the tenors found their first note from the last note the sopranos sang, it all went beautifully. A good start.

Next came the audience participation songs. Golden Oldies.

It’s a Most Wonderful time of the Year was first. A popular Christmas song written in triple time in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle. It was recorded and released that year by pop singer Andy Williams for his first Christmas album, The Andy Williams Christmas Album.

With no harmonies. Hooray !! it was fairly straightforward and during the instrumental part sopranos and altos hum the start of the tune and then the tenors hum the second part before we all sing together again.

Let it Snow was very easy as it is so well known. A song written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne in July 1945. Written in Hollywood, California during a heat wave as Cahn and Styne imagined cooler conditions.

Despite the lyrics making no mention of any holiday, the song has come to be regarded as a Christmas song worldwide.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (being very pedantic about English spellings and expressions, I want to write ‘Mummy’!).

However, it is a Christmas song with music and lyrics by British songwriter Tommie Connor (who should know how to spell ‘Mummy’) and first recorded by Jimmy Boyd in 1952 when he was 13 years old. However, the recording was condemned and banned by the Roman Catholic Church in Boston when it was released, believing that it described an adulterous encounter. Explanations followed and the ban was lifted.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas was quite a challenge for altos and tenors (and some sopranos!) as the notes are very high. Ricardo is happy if we move to an octave lower during the song if necessary.

This song was written in 1943 by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Frank Sinatra later recorded a version with modified lyrics.

judy Garland, her co-star Tom Drake and director Vincente Minnelli criticized the song as depressing. Martin made several changes to make the song more upbeat. For example, the lines "It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past" became "Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight".

After a little refreshment we resumed to sing through Fascinating Rhythm We discovered that there was a typo in the music score and it should be ‘At night no work has been done’ rather than ‘At night the work has been done’. Amazing how one little word can change the whole meaning!

Altos are singing the right notes and should have more confidence and sing out. The sopranos, or one or more, need to sing the right notes as some were a flat and under the note. Squeeze those oranges!

Another Golden Oldie.

Carol of the Bells needs that bell-like quality emphasising the ‘ng’ sound on the Dings and Dongs. It is important to listen to each other to know when to ding and when to dong and sing the melody lines. By the time we had finished Ricardo said that it was very lovely.

Oh, yes! We are getting there and our hard work is paying off. Keep it up!

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