Santa came early for me this year. I’m hanging out with Santa, in fact, eight times this month of December.
All are at Symphony Hall, Boston, because I’m singing with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the Boston Symphony Orchestra in eight performances of the Boston Pops.
One of my favorite songs is called “Zat You, Santa Claus?” It’s a medley, with absolutely delicious arrangements and harmonies, of a bunch of Christmas standards. Halfway through, Santa appears, the orchestra and chorus kick it up a notch, and the crowd goes wild.
Wild, I tell you.
I cannot begin to describe how exciting it is to perform the Holiday Pops concerts. I love music, so first there’s the challenge of learning long, complex pieces — more than an hour of actual singing.
“Complex?” you say. It’s Christmas music! But take a look at the arrangements. They’re brilliant, complex, and extremely fun to sing.
First, you have to learn it all. There’s a practice CD, which helps.
Then comes rehearsal and the sheer power of singing with other people — not just the CD. That’s where the music comes to life. And then you’re walking out, in a new tux (OK, used, for $125) onto the Symphony Hall stage with the greatest chorus in the country. And then you’re singing with one of the greatest orchestras on the planet.
And with amazing soloists and the great Keith Lockhart conducting.
And with an audience of more than 2,300 people. Who love their Christmas Pops.
And then you get to stand there and sing — and when you perform in front of an audience like that, you just find an extra gear.
You can sing better and louder (!) than you ever imagined you could. It’s as if the whole concert were the final “kick” at the end of the marathon. That extra gear. It was there all along, and you never knew it. A little bit of self-discovery, while singing.
My family got to come hear us perform this past Sunday.
You could make the case that I’m too busy to do this : a wife and four kids, running a business, etc. Life.
But I’d say this is what life is all about. Set a goal. Do what you have to do to reach it (in my case, take singing lessons so I can get accustomed to singing tenor – I was used to sing baritone in my youth).
And then enjoy the hell out of it.
Best of all, model all this for the kids. Mine saw me busting my butt for weeks to learn all that music. And then there’s Daddy, up on stage at Symphony Hall.
Singing his heart out.
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