Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Music Chain

Tonight my heart lies heavy with the news from Connecticut.

Originally I had planned to make this chained post about worn out high notes and music heard in banks that still melts my heart, or the secret holiday music loves I play even in July. I had six songs in mind, and some rough ideas.

Then my friend Leigh Ann walked into the room, such a look on her face - not horror, not shock, not despair, but of weight. "Twenty-eight," she said, "twenty-eight."

Though I grew up in a fairly religiously educational home, I somehow missed the story of the Holy Innocents until I was about seven. I have a feeling that it was in a documentary, because I have flashes of seeing a Renaissance-y painting of the destruction and the pure implications just terrifying me. My well-intentioned parents' attempts to explain the whole matter only accentuated my feelings of guilt that so much death had to take place to save our souls.

"Coventry Carol" doesn't get programmed much, at least, not within the sacred music circles in which I have sung and worshiped, but somehow I've committed it to memory. I think that Annie Lennox comes closest to expressing the horror, the shock, the magnitude of the loss to the boys who had to die for a king's rage and fear. (Verse two)

Coventry Carol

I've tried to go about the business of Advent II this evening - I ran out to get milk, leafed through today's blue books, picked up a few gifts, started in on Christmas cards - but Lennox's voice rang in my ears for hours. That painting sprang back into my head again.

Tomorrow I will go to a two hour long choir practice - the director has already promised us that it will be grueling - and I think I need it. My heart is too full and my head too weary for much music of any sort tonight.

That's one of the great spiritual gifts to me about being in a choir at this time of year. It's so easy for me to get caught up in cards and final exams and Christmas shopping and - and - and

Having to spend hours each week preparing for sacred services, hours around people I love and enjoy, in a place that makes my heart leap, it's one of the greatest moments of grounding I could ask, and that will come form the reminders, be it the Latin I struggle to pronounce or the descant I know as well as I know my own name. I love secular holiday music too, but the moment when candles are lit in the darkness and voices break though - glorious.

The rest of the chain includes:

Cranky at It’s My Blog!
Dr. Geek at Dr. Geek’s Laboratory
Lemming at Lemming’s Progress
Readersguide at Reader’s Guide to…
Freshhell at Life in Scribbletown
edj3 at kitties kitties kitties
My Kids’ Mom at Pook and Bug
joyhowie at The Crooked Line
Magpie at Magpie Musing
and back to Harriet for a wrap-up at spynotes

Sunday, December 09, 2012

holiday music chain

Harriet has strated a chain of bloggers to talk abouit holiday music.

I think that one of the terms is that I need to post a link to her blog about this - so here tis!

(Apologies - my blogging skills are a tad rusty...)

Sunday, December 02, 2012

thank-you, Moose

I've done more lecturing than I would have preferred this semester. Never having taught at this university before, I didn't know what to expect, so I defaulted with, "I'm a very good and reasonably interesting public speaker" which has served me well in a pinch before.

Mostly the class likes my jokes, and every now and again I throw something in for a specific part of the audience, which keeps me, at least, amused. I know for a fact that a small group are keeping track of how often I say one word in particular, so I will include it on purpose from time to time; I know that it also slips out. No, it's not a swear word!

One of the people I could count on to smile always sits in the same seat, which isn't surprising, and has dark red hair, a useful combination to me as I tried to learn everyone's name. He wears the same t shirt a lot, but so do a lot of other students; he, at least, seems to wash it on a regular basis. I also noticed that he embraced a girlfriend right before class each day and then she went to a different classroom - nothing over the top, but he did it every day. It's not in the least bit creepy but, let's face it, in 2012 it's definitely unusual. (Then again, so is the laundry.)

Over the semester, I slowly put together some cues - he's very bright, but speaks at a very rapidfire pace so that it can be hard to understand him unless you really focus. He remembers everything I say, but rarely makes eye contact when we talk. His knowledge goes beyond polymath, but he's not always aware that one Monty Python sketch might be more appropriate to a class topic than another...

A few weeks ago, it hit me: Asperger's.

I'm very grateful for this guy's humor and enthusiasm; he's been a huge help to me. Nothing at all has changed in how I handle him or see him as a student, which I think (hope) says a great deal about us as a culture and as a society. Believing this to be the case, though, does make me think of Moose every class and grin.

Grateful as I am for this student, I'm even more grateful to Rob and his wife for sharing their son, aka Moose, with me. To be fair, I'm also grateful for their cooking and their TiVo and their laughter and their wisdom and their truly awesome dog, but their son most of all. Knowing Moose, watching him grow up, hearing him laugh - I'm such a broader person, and that helped me understand this suent with the dark red hair. Thanks.

By the way, speaking of cooking, we owe you supper.