My previous teacher, present colleague and longtime friend used to hold the best Christmas parties each year. All of her students were invited, and we so looked forward to the homemade doughnuts, Christmas cheer and carol singing around the piano. I was telling her granddaughter the other day how much I enjoyed these parties and how they became a part of my holiday tradition-- I would even come back from University to make the snowy drive up to her house.
I think part of the joy was seeing familiar faces welcoming in the holidays together (and of course the doughnuts were to die for). But I know the most special part was gathering around the big old grand piano and making music together. I was often thrust upon the bench to accompany the singing crowd, and since most everyone who attended were music lovers the resulting sounds were exultant.
For the past several years our own family has held a holiday gathering for close friends, and a few years ago we added carolling into the mix. I think it happened because our kids-- who were toddlers at the time-- wandered over to the piano and started playing and singing together. After getting all the pictures and videos of that cuteness I possibly could, I sat down at the piano and played a few Christmas favourites. Before you know it we had bells and shakers out and everyone was singing along.
I love that singing Christmas carols has become a tradition at our parties. Last night everyone came over and we had so much fun choosing carols to sing and belting them out together. What a wonderful way to start off Christmas: with good food, good friends and lots of music. Happy Holidays!
P.S. Here is the link to a couple new duets I recorded and posted on SoundCloud. These are mentor duets arranged by Rebekah Maxner, meant for beginner piano students. The secondo part (teacher) plays Pachelbel's Canon while the Primo (student) plays Jolly Old St. Nicholas. There are two versions: one for pre-staff reading and one for early-staff reading. It's a wonderful way to play a beautiful Christmas duet with a beginner student.