A Christmas Trilogy
With the help of some very talented local musicians, I have composed a trio of Christmas pieces for mixed chorus. I believe the best sequence is as follows: 1. "It’s Snowing;" 2. "Colorado Christmas;" 3. "That’s What Christmas Means to Me."
Contact me personally to get prices for the choral pieces.
That's What Christmas Means to Me
Shining tinsel on the tree,
Glowing faces of the children
As they sit on Santa's knee,
Lilting peals of laughter ringing through the rafters,
That's what Christmas means to me;
That's what Christmas means to me.
People shouting out to strangers . . .
A Colorado Christmas
There's a manger scene on the mantle;
There's a Christmas tree by the door;
And the children once so wide awake
In a heap
On the floor.
Mom and Dad will pick them up
And tuck them snug into bed,
Where all night long they'll be dreamin'
Of the wondrous night ahead . . .
(Spoken by a female and male chorus member with spoken comments and appropriate gestures by the chorus)
Please don’t even speak to us of Spring
With sneezy, greenish dust on everything (yuck!)
And Summer is a time of bugs and sweat
Even when it’s dry you can be soaking wet (ick!)
And Autumn, although pretty, is worst of all
A smoky, lifeless landscape when the leaves fall (meh!)
But Winter, lovely Winter, with its lovely, lovely snow
Lifts our hearts and lends our cheeks a rosy, rosy glow (ooh!)
(Chorus members at random after a short pause: some members looking skyward or at each other after each “ting”)
ting - - ting - - - - ting – ting - - - - ting - - - A-A-A-A-H-H-H!
Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint SaensSome years ago, I took my grandchildren to a performance of Saint Saens’ Carnival of the Animals at the Colorado College Summer Music Festival. Written in 1886, but not performed until 1922, Carnival was originally a chamber piece with a segment based on a number of animals (tortoise, lion, etc.) but soon was developed into a piece for full orchestra. In 1949, poet Ogden Nash wrote a humorous verse for each of the segments and that is usually the version we hear today.
Trouble is, many of Nash’s verses are topical—even political—and audiences of today (especially children) have no idea to what they are referring.
So after I took the grandkids home, I wrote a set of verses for the segments that I thought would be more appealing to children. Each poem is meant to be timeless and characteristic only of the animal it portrays. It has been performed several times now in Colorado Springs. The excerpt below showcases the Colorado College Summer Festival Orchestra performing Carnival with my verses narrated by Herb Beattie, former basso with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Munching grasses, leaves and grains.
They leap about and race around
On hooves that make a drumming sound.
The pianos have a lot of fun
Trying to show how fast they run. (Piano demonstrates)