Well, this should be ... what's the word I'm looking for?
Interesting. Yeah, that's it.
My older daughter, Erin, is Music Director of a local church. So, of course, every year, we go to the Christmas service there. It's not my wife's brand, but nobody else in the family has a home team preference, so we all agree that's a better place to be Christmas Eve than anywhere else. The people are lovely, the service is always inspirational, and Allie and I can have our annual case of the church giggles and now, instead of getting stern looks of disapproval from my wife, we can get them from Erin.
Last year, when it came time to sing the carols, one of the selections was "O, Come, All Ye Faithful". We sang along with everyone else, but partway through I was aware that Erin was looking out over her music and shooting me a vaguely disapproving glance.
Brief back story: as a young boy, I sang in choirs. Our minister, the Padre Pippie (oh, come on - how can you not love a man with a name that flows so trippingly off the tongue), loved Latin, and one of my earliest memories of singing in church was a solo performance of "Adeste Fideles". I first learned it in Latin and never unlearned it and have always preferred the musicality of the language in that version to what I see as the more pedestrian English version.
So, when we would go to Christmas services with the kids as they grew up, I would stubbornly sing the Latin when everyone else sang the English. It was just a thing I did, my little Christmas thing, and Erin was always amused by it. More so than, say, her mother, who thought it was unseemly. Or something.
Now, I don't mind embarrassing my kids - gee, there's a shocker, huh? But I wasn't about to chance ruining the music at my daughter's church - she takes her responsibilities very seriously and while I like to tweak the kids, I'm pretty attuned to where the lines are in that little game. So I sucked it up and sang "O Come, All Ye Faithful". And got this disapproving eye contact from Erin, which sort of bewildered me.
After the service, she came up to me, still frowning. "What?" I said.
"English? Now, after all these years, you do it in English?"
Good God, she was disappointed. She had actually counted on me doing it in Latin. My little eccentricity was as much a part of her Christmas as it was of mine.
We were joined by the Ministers, a very nice husband and wife team, and when Erin explained her disappointment, they said "Well, then, next year you'll solo."
Umm. Okay. I don't mind. That doesn't really tax my performing abilities. And really, the expectations won't be all that grand. I don't pretend to be a singer. Everybody will be polite. Just saying, I'm not daunted at the prospect.
But what Erin has come up with in addition to that is a little daunting.
For years, The Roches Christmas album, We Three Kings, has been the music of our family Christmas. When we decorate the tree (not until after December 9th, thank you - that's Erin's birthday and there will be nothing to distract from that sacred event), that album is always the one we play. That music is Christmas. I have waxed rhapsodic about it before, and will do so for the rest of my life. It is, to me, the single most perfect Christmas album I have ever heard.
In particular, I am still moved to tears by one of the original compositions on the album, a song called Star of Wonder. Download copy_of_14_star_of_wonder.wma (Can someone leave a comment to tell me if this upload worked and they could play the file? Thanks)
Listen to it and see if your breath is not taken away. Also, there is a compelling, emotional story behind the song. Again ... perfect.
So Erin said "I want you, me, and Allie to sing "Star of Wonder" at my church."
Rehearsals have begun. Erin won't allow us to be anything less than our best. I'm kinda scared and excited all at once. Not to mention utterly thrilled at the thought of performing with my girls.
More to come.