Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Music Thoughts

By Bobby Chang

A few years ago, I read an article about a regional singalong of Händel's Messiah that was happening at a church, and wrote The Cheesehead about my yearning to sing in one (if you've read the archives, you will learn what I told her). While this year's soprano soloist is (finally) new after two consecutive years of the same girl (of course if you've read my columns it was a key figure in turning me towards classical music), the mother of this year's soloist was one of my teammates for Die Jahreszeiten. I overheard the mother talking with another teammate after a practice session. I write this as I am headed to the singalong for the fifth time, just eight days after performing selections at a friend's church, with plenty of things learned from Suzanne Ringer (director), Mrs. Joey Rothfuss (organist), a great orchestra, and numerous choirsters whom I had the opportunity to be a teammate. It beat the stuffing out of the work back home of another Warner Music Group karaoke DVD "musical".

Speaking of Messiah, Cathy warned about events that degrade Christians in Christmas events, and she noted the number of Catholic-mocking events. A message I recently picked up on a message board about one viral video by high school children in a "silent performance" of #44 in the Händel masterpiece was degrading. It featured kids as "silent monks" raising cards. Unfortunately, a Catholic poster on a message board noted that a "silent order" does not apply on prayers and singing, and most would not be able to live a "monastic life for more than five minutes". All they needed was a CD or MP3 of a professional recording, a few cards, costumes, and be able to perform this work. When children in church are treated to entertainment and not taught to sing this masterpiece, what gives? Too many churches think that not singing but teaching kids to "fake it" is suitable. If I had been anywhere near it in person, I'd call a Faking It foul.

The sad part of this is how many churches have given up on their choirs singing it and instead having teens (and sometimes adults) just move to the sing with card tricks as monks. For reasons of dignity, I decided it wasn't right to link to the stupid video.

And don't get me started on the stupidity of the pop divas' tunes that are prominent everywhere. I hear these ugly tunes when working out (especially Mariah and Britney), and I remind myself the only person surnamed Carey who gives away great "presents" is Drew Allison Carey, and we know he does it weekdays.

And if another "bad music" situation took place, it took place back at my home church (remember, it's not the church in the video, which is a friend's church; they wanted the community to participate) with a Children's programme that featured kids doing a "jingle bell rap" and numerous pop-rock tunes using karaoke DVD. I can only say the leaders that I need Suzanne Ringer's number in my phone and call her to report these kids for poor diction with these songs that weren't Christmas songs.

NOTE: Video of the performance I had sung:

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