Thursday, December 17, 2009

Advent Calendar--Grab Bag 2

I've always loved Christmas music.  In school we would sing Christmas carols.  At church we would sing Christmas hymns.  I loved walking into a store and hearing Christmas music.  I enjoyed being in the band in junior high and high school and playing Christmas music every day for much of November and December.  I loved singing with the choir at church and preparing for Christmas by singing Christmas carols.  As a teenager one of our church activities just before Christmas was to ride on a hay wagon or in the back of a truck up and down the main street in our town and sing Christmas carols.  We always had hot chocolate and cookies or doughnuts afterwards.  As an adult I've gone with groups to sing Christmas carols at rest homes which can be a very emotional experience.  The first year that I lived away from home going to college it snowed early, and the radio station started playing Christmas music.  My roommates and I felt so much in the Christmas spirit that we started baking cookies and singing along with the radio.  One of the highlights I remember from living in Salt Lake City was the year I took one of my daughters with me to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas Concert that was being recorded to be broadcast on PBS.  Christmas music has made a big difference in my life.  If I'm feeling discouraged, I can start playing Christmas music and it helps me feel better. 

I think music was important to at least some of my ancestors.  I have several ancestors who crossed the plains, some with very little.  Some crossed using handcarts and they were only allowed 16 pounds of belongings per person.  I know that music was used among the pioneers to help them.  If someone had a fiddle or violin they would start playing after they had stopped to camp and many would dance.  They sang songs and hymns to help them get through the journey.  Although we weren't a piano-playing family, music was part of our lives.  My mother's father gave her a guitar just a short time before he died.  She didn't learn to play it, but she treasured the guitar.  It is one of my treasured possessions since I inherited it from her.  Recently I learned that one of my ancestors contributed the wood to make the first organ in the tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  It's obvious that he valued music.  I don't have any stories of ancestors and Christmas music, but I have feeling it was important to them too.

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