Off the Risers: Life as a Singer 1/2/2015
Family and a New Year’s Wish
The string of lights on the bush by my front door stopped working on the day after Christmas. You’d think that a seasoned Minnesotan such as myself would brave the cold to bring the lights inside where I could find the defective bulb. Nope! Tis the season of comfort and joy, after all. It’s also a season rich in memory. You can’t beat moments with family. They become a font of treasured days, a rich store to be recounted by generations, and a source of remembrance of those whose lives we still miss. I’ve been blessed to have two families–the Johnson clan and also a family of singers. Memories of concerts, recordings and rehearsals over these 10 plus years are part of that. The very slippers on my feet this chilly New Year’s day were purchased for a cold recording session. The noise from the church’s blowers was too loud, so we had to turn off the heat before the first take. Perhaps you remember a concert where the roof was leaking and drops were falling on the stage, or the first time you heard Stephen Paulus’ Silent Night shimmer on the air? I remember the twinkle in the eyes of Morten Lauridsen after some remarkable days of music making over four years ago and the relief during our concert when he started playing the opening bars on the piano for Dirait-on , finally knowing that we had been singing perfectly in tune.
Embedded with those memories are the quotes. Many of my scores are annotated with chestnuts from the podium. For instance, did you know that Sweelinck’s Hodie is a “party on paper” or that our esteemed director can affect quite a dulcet DJ voice? “You’re listening to smooth rock” (the gentle rocking of Leighton’s Lully lulla).
What memories will come with 2015? How will my ‘family’ celebrate the days? May these days shine in your eyes as reflected joy one day, a memory of comfort on a cold winter’s night.