“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” Victor Hugo
It is the most wonderful time of the year, so the song goes, and it is, really. But it is also one of the most difficult times of the year.
There are challenges we may face, despite the time of year. Illness, and even the death, of a loved one. Family conflicts we endure even as we rehearse the Wassil Carol. Personal disappointments, heart-aches, and tragedies don’t stop because it’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. We must keep on.
We all need some TLC as we plow—sometimes LITERALLY—along until December the 25th. If our lives are perfect and happy and festive, we still need some kindness and nurturing to get through our hectic time. We can be kind to each other—our singers and our family—while we are stressed. Think of kindness as the best holiday gift you can give someone. Your kindness will be remembered long after some silvery trinket is forgotten. A laugh, a hug, an extra mug of eggnog might be the best part of someone’s day. And we can be kind to ourselves as well.
In our profession, we plan and plan and PLAN for the next five weeks or so and often feel disappointed as we reach our finish line. We are not disappointed by our plans or by our singers but by sheer busyness, then BOOM, it’s all over. Something’s missing in our lives. By all accounts, it shouldn’t be the reason for our melancholy, but many of us experience a slight bit of sadness as we are “supposed to” relax and take it easy. It is a bittersweetness, flavoring our fruitcake and Christmas cookies, as we are expected to recharge. Our purpose in life is finished for the time being and we are at a loss when we should be the happiest.
We miss our rehearsals and singers and the MUSIC we so lovingly chose months (or perhaps YEARS) ago, then suddenly it’s over. We miss the comradery and the festive fun we’ve shared with the people we make music with and the traditions of our ensemble. These are indescribable things, things we may even complain about even as they happen, but also we miss the challenges and the obstacles we must overcome.
There is the music, always the music, to lean on. We can sing and we can listen to the music of the season, after we finish our services and performances in the next few weeks. Or we can sing or play something completely different to “cleanse our palate” before we begin our rehearsals and preparations for spring. But always, always, always lean on the music. Music can help get us through the next few weeks without needing to say a word.