NewsWeird, but oh so happy!

Weird, but oh so happy!

Why it’s not about the right tone when singing Christmas carols: Episode 21 of our FR Advent stories

It just happens that things happen at Christmas that need a very special date. Without decorated fir green – in whatever form – it is usually still not possible to give presents today and many people only go to church on Christmas Eve. With us, the most consistent ritual is a bit like that of others with Christmas mass, which for various reasons has never been part of our Christmas script. That’s why we’ve been singing in front of the Christmas tree for decades, although we’re not a particularly musical family and never play house music together all year round.

When the children were too young to have a say, I was the driving vocalist, back then also to please grandmas and grandpas, to create a festive atmosphere – and because I think Christmas carols are simply beautiful. It remained a matter of course as long as the children were small enough to love singing together with all their hearts, even if the gifts had to wait for that.

christmas rituals

For some it is the goose on Christmas Eve, for others it has to be “Three Nuts for Cinderella” in the afternoon program. We all have certain stories, films or rituals that belong to Christmas – and without which our Advent season would only be half as festive. This year you will not only find the popular personal stories in the FR advent calendar, but also raffles every now and then. Good luck and in any case: Happy Holidays! FR

Then came the difficult years of puberty and the age difference of the children did much to save our tradition. When the oldest was fully on the opposition course, the younger ones, who wanted toys, insisted on the common “Silent Night”. And when they got embarrassed by the singing a few years later, the big sister had just come back from the year abroad and was reconnecting with the family habits. The stubborn acknowledged this with opera singing poses and parodying interludes, but we also got through them.

This is how we sang our way through the years – and unfortunately I have to admit that we have not made any great progress in terms of pitch or text consistency. On the contrary: the piano accompaniment, formerly four-handed, now mostly two-handed, has become bumpy because there is too little time to practice on the days before the festival when the adult children arrive. In addition, the instrument tends to get out of tune since the daughters gave up piano lessons. It happened long before they moved out. Only at Christmas do they dig up lost knowledge, just like me. These are still sufficient for a simple version of the melodies, but without rehearsing we quickly hit the wrong keys.

But that is not a bad thing, because the singing is constantly in an awkward position. After all, we don’t make it easy for ourselves. “Burning the lights on the Christmas tree”, which we use to warm our throats, usually works reasonably well. But at the latest when the bells never ring sweeter, at the point where the angels sing very high, the natural voices of those involved gape sharply apart. We are then glad that no one is listening and we never record our performance on video. In the past, my favorite Christmas carol followed as the biggest challenge: “O you happy”, difficult to sing and with four-hand, full-sounding piano accompaniment.

I found it enormously solemn and liked it very much, but now I have realized that Christmas should not be a festival of excessive demands. The playlist has been shortened, mostly after the bells we come straight to the final “Silent Night”. Last year, at the suggestion of my daughter, Bryan Adams’ “Christmas Time” surprisingly intervened, she had taught herself to play the guitar and it sounded really good. In order for the classics to hold their own in the future, I should really practice in good time this year.

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