Friday, December 18, 2009

7 Quick Takes: Volume 3

Even though this is supposed to be 7 Quick Takes on unrelated things, a theme seems to have emerged today. See if you can pick it out.

(The idea of 7 Quick Takes Friday comes from blogger Jennifer Fulwiler, who hosts it weekly at her site, Conversion Diary.)


This may seem odd in light of my recent post about Santa, but one of my favorite Christmas songs is Kay Starr’s classic jazz tune (Everybody's Waitin' For) The Man with the Bag. This song is so fun, and Starr’s rendition of it can’t be beat (like Etta James’ At Last — often imitated, but never duplicated). Her style is laid-back and perfect, and the band is spot on.

Here it is, set with a slideshow of vintage Christmas cards. Enjoy!


Have you noticed how music affects your mood? It’s like it bypasses the thought process and takes a direct path to the mood center of the brain. I haven’t read any research on this (yet), but I’m convinced there’s a connection. And I’m surprised that connection isn’t being tapped more in the mental health field.


Last weekend I sang in my church’s Christmas program, as I mentioned in takes #4 and #5 here. Although I’ve been singing in choirs for years, this was only my second time performing Hallelujah from Handel’s Messiah. This was a contemporary arrangement, with electric guitars and a rock beat, but still very much the classic Hallelujah chorus.

This time, I discovered something I'd never noticed before. I sing alto, and generally really enjoy it, even though alto parts are notorious for being dull. (Look up Alto’s Lament on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean.) Many composers and arrangers seem to like having the alto section sit on one note for long periods. Handel (or at least this arranger) was no exception — toward the beginning, our part rides on an A for a couple of pages.

But later on in the piece, the altos become the utility players. Near the end, we sing “King of kings” with the men, and while they’re holding out their notes, we jump up and sing “Forever, and ever” with the sopranos (on our notes, not theirs, thankfully), and again on “Lord of lords”… “Forever, and ever.” You’ll hear it beginning around 4:57 of the Silent Monks’ video I posted Wednesday.

It’s very fun, and made me think Handel may have appreciated altos for more than our ability to ride a single note forever… (and ever… Hallelujah! Hallelujah!).


If you asked me about my favorite Christmas album of all time, I'd have to say it's Vince Guaraldi Trio A Charlie Brown Christmas. Even though the kids are pretty off-key in places. Even though it's played in restaurants and stores beginning before Thanksgiving. I just never get tired of it.


I often joke that when they start playing “your” music in the grocery store, it's a sign that it’s time to make a reservation for the home. Yeah… my grocery store has been playing my music for a while.

So this week I ran across another sign of my age. (Who am I kidding? I didn’t “run” across it. At my age, I walk carefully and methodically, lest I stumble and fall and break a hip.)

On Tuesday I went to see my doctor for a checkup. My husband had an appointment for his annual physical at the same time. (It’s a group practice.) As we were waiting for the receptionist to check us in, he pointed out a doctor he’d met on a previous visit, one of the practice’s newer members.

Now, when I say “newer,” I want you to know I mean it in every way. This doctor is young. Boyish. I wanted to ask him if he’s shaving yet.

My husband (evidently reading my thoughts) murmured, “I think he’s in his thirties” as I silently mouthed, “He’s twelve.”

Hopefully I won’t get sick when he’s on call. I’m not sure I'm ready to be cared for by Doogie Howser, M.D.


On the plus side of this whole aging thing, I’m looking forward to being able to holler at kids taking a shortcut across our corner lot, “Hey, you, get offa my lawn!” (And yes, I believe that’s exactly what Mick Jagger yells at trespassing youngsters.)


I’m totally kidding about #6. My husband already has that territory covered.


  1. Well at first I thought your theme was music... and then I got halfway through #5 and it suddenly switched to aging. Am I missing something?

  2. No, you got it the first time. Aging crept in as a sub-theme for the last three takes, but music still figured into #5 and #6. And #7, well, that's just me giving the old guy a hard time, which is my continual mission in life.

  3. All I can say is I hope that mission gives John as much pleasure as you seem to take from it. ;)

  4. I'm helping him grow as a person.


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