The best way to spread Christmas cheer...
Well Elf said it so it must be true! The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear!
For me, one of the best things about Christmas is the music - from carols to pop songs, we all know that the best way to get a little atmosphere into your Christmas gathering is to pipe a little seasonal music into the background. Christmas is the busiest time of year for musicians, as we gather for Christmas concerts and carol singing and are often called upon to provide last minute festive tunes. I'm part of the wonderful Torkard Ensemble, who are out and about in our local community from the end of November right up until Christmas, singing carols and Christmas music in homes, shops and community groups. My favourite performances of the year are the opportunities we get to sing to the elderly in nursing homes - seeing their faces light up as we strike up a well known carol and as they join in and find the words and tunes flooding back.
Music does that you see - it reaches right into the depths of our brains and pulls out words and tunes we may have forgotten we knew. And as it does so, it often brings back memories of Christmases past - many happy memories of childhood excitement and happy times with family, but often difficult and hard times that seem so much sharper when combined with Christmas. For people like me who've suffered loss around Christmas, a seemingly innocent festive tune enjoyed by many can unlock reminders of pain and grief.
One of my favourite escapes is into the wonderful sound of my favourite professional choir - The Sixteen. Their Christmas albums contain some sublime sounds of Christmases long since past and they bring a sense of serenity and calm among the madness. You can find them on You Tube, Spotify and iTunes.
Christmas isn't all sparkle and delight, but my hope for you this year is that you will allow the music of Christmas to calm your heart and remind you of the beauty of the festive season. A very Merry Christmas to you and yours and every wish for a happy, healthy and musical 2017.