When the Christmas Music Changes – By Gael Hannan
I adore Christmas, especially the tingle-inducing music. But this holiday season, I’m wondering—when did I lose the ability to sing it? (Some in my family would tell you that I never had that ability, but they’re such kidders. They know I can sing well—if I manage to stay on key.)
Growing up, I sang in Christmas choirs (being flanked fore and aft and side by side by other singers helped keep me on key) at school and in church. My family sang Christmas carols in the car, belting out Joy to the World in harmony, more or less.
But it’s not easy anymore. When surrounded by other singers, I have trouble hearing myself and it shuts me down. But music made by other people still thrills—especially familiar music played at a reasonable volume, and if it’s a single voice not drowned out by an orchestra. When I’m home in my own house, I sing because there’s no one to wince if I’m off-key; our cats don’t recognize bad singing from good and my husband loves me too much to complain. But at Christmas time, music is meant to be shared, to be sung together so if I’m in a group, I just kind of move my lips and let little sounds out, audible and felt only to me.