Posts Tagged 'Music'

The Twelve Pains at Christmas

Have you heard this song by Storm Akima on the radio? It is about the only Christmas song on the radio I can stand, mostly because it cracks me up. Well, that’s not entirely true; I do like instrumental versions of some songs, including Sleigh Ride and a version of Silent Night by Kenny G, but generally, Christmas songs on the radio get real old, real fast.

Some thoughts on the lyrics, as they apply to my life:

1) I bought my tree yesterday. It is a perfect size, but it doesn’t have much scent. I sadly suspect it was cut down long long ago, but it is so much easier to get one at a lot than a cut-it-yourself tree farm.

2) I haven’t rigged up the lights or hung ornaments yet, because I’m waiting for the branches to unfold a little bit more.

4) I’m not sending Christmas Cards this year. I don’t feel like it. Please don’t feel left out if you were expecting one. And if it makes your life easier, you can leave me off your lists too.

5) Bills. Yep. I’m going to have a bunch, because I’m footing the bill for boyfriend and me to stay in a hotel, instead of at my parents house. I require space.

6) The inlaws thing doesn’t really apply to me, but pity my boyfriend. I do.

Here are the humorous lyrics, but I recommend this You Tube video if you haven’t heard it:

“The first thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
Finding a Christmas tree.

The second thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
Husband (2): Rigging up the lights,
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.

The third thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
Inebriated man (3): Hangovers,
2: Rigging up the lights,
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.

The fourth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
Frustrated man (4): Sending Christmas cards,
3: Hangovers,
2: Rigging up the lights,
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.

The fifth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
Chorus: F i v e m o n t h s of b i l l s,
4: Sending Christmas cards,
3: Hangovers,
2: Rigging up the lights,
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.

The sixth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
Frustrated wife (6): Facing my in-laws,
Chorus: F i v e m o n t h s of b i l l s,
4: Oh, I hate those Christmas cards,
3: Hangovers,
2: Rigging up these lights,
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.

The seventh thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
Angry man (7): The Salvation Army,
6: Facing my in-laws,
Chorus: F i v e m o n t h s of b i l l s,
4: Sending Christmas cards,
3: Oh, Jeez!
2: I’m trying to rig up these lights!
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.

The eighth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
Loud kid (8): I WANNA TRANSFORMER FOR CHRISTMAS!
7: Charities
6: And what do you mean, “your in-laws”?!?
Chorus: F i v e m o n t h s of b i l l s,
4: Oh, making out these cards,
3: Edith, get me a beer, huh?
2: What? We have no extension cords?!?
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.

The ninth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
Another frustrated man (9): No parking spaces,
8: DADDY, I WANT SOME CANDY!!
7: Donations!
6: Facing my in-laws,
Chorus: F i v e m o n t h s of b i l l s,
4: Writing out those Christmas cards,
3: Hangovers,
2: Now why the hell are they blinking?!?
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.

The tenth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
Toy-commercial voice (10): “Batteries not included”,
9: No parking spaces,
8: BUY ME SOMETHIN’!!!!
7: Get a job, ya bum!!!
6: (sobbing) Oh, facing my in-laws,
Chorus: F i v e m o n t h s of b i l l s,
4: Yo, ho! Sending Christmas cards,
3: Oh, Jeez, look at this!
2: One light goes out, they ALL go out!!!
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.

The eleventh thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
TV Critic (11): Stale TV specials,
10: “Batteries not included”,
9: No parking spaces,
8: I GOTTA GO TO THE BATHROOM!!!!
7: Charities!!
6: (sobbing) She’s a witch! I hate her!
Chorus: F i v e m o n t h s of b i l l s,
4: Oh, I don’t even KNOW half these people!
3: Oh, who’s got the toilet paper?
2: Get a flashlight!! I blew a fuse!!!
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.

The twelfth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me is:
A few guys: Singing Christmas Carols,
11: Stale TV specials,
10: “Batteries not included”,
9: No parking?
8: WAAAAAAH!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!
7: Charities!
6: Gotta make ’em dinner!
Chorus: F i v e m o n t h s of b i l l s,
4: I’m not sending them this year, that’s it!
3: Shut up, you!
2: FINE!! If you’re so smart, YOU RIG UP THE LIGHTS!!!!!
Chorus: And finding a Christmas tree.”

Commitments

Ever commit to something before you know exactly all of what is expected of you? (Who hasn’t, right?)

Well, I’ve done it recently, and now I feel stuck, because I’m really only interested in my original perceived level of participation, and not the current overload I’m feeling. But it seems like my choice is all or nothing.

Remember a while back I joined a band? It was good for a while. Rehearsals were every Tuesday evening for an hour and a half, and they were located at my town’s middle school about a half mile from where I live. Following April school vacation, rehearsals changed locations to an elementary school twenty-five miles away!! Rehearsals frequently run long, and I often don’t get home to start dinner until after nine pm! It is exhausting. The other night our rehearsal was running late because a few members felt the need to discuss an issue that should have been left up to the board, not the general membership, and I started quietly packing up. The alto sax sitting next to me, gets mad at me for being so rude (it should also be noted that this individual was one of the members who had many thoughts to add to the discussion) and asks if I’m going to turn into a pumpkin. Well! Excuse me! I haven’t seen my apartment since six-thirty in the morning, or a bite to eat since lunch, and I have a forty minute drive on dark pothole-ridden roads ahead of me. Yeah, I want to leave.

The drive is another issue. In the past week, the only day I drove my car anywhere was Tuesday. I’ve been trying really hard to do everything by bike or foot. It’s good for me. It’s good for my wallet. It’s good for the environment. I feel proud to be among the local bike commuters that I see regularly (we all wave to one another; it’s quite different from the one-finger wave you get in a car). I can’t get to rehearsal on my bike for four reasons: 1) it is so far. I could probably do one direction, but then how do I get home? 2) I’d be riding home in the dark. No thanks. Too dangerous. 3) The roads out there are really really rough in a car; they would not be suitable for a road bike. And some have no shoulder to ride on. 4) I play the tenor sax. It is too big to carry on my bike.

Then there is the performance schedule, which was finally handed out two rehearsals ago. Thus far, there have been two performances, which is about the frequency I was expecting. The first was a joke: we hadn’t been rehearsing long; we were inside and it was brutally hot; there was a bean supper to follow, so the beans could be smelled cooking downstairs – I thought I was going to puke! I missed the second performance (a series of three parades on Memorial Day), because I had to work. We have a performance outside at our lakeside bandstand tomorrow for Father’s Day. It will eat up my entire afternoon.

Next weekend is a parade in a town south of here, for which our band has also been invited to do a 2 hour performance afterwards. To participate or not (last minute invitation, reduced fee, poorly organized event) was the issue we were discussing the other night. Boyfriend and I have already been talking about going camping next weekend, because it was supposed to be a rare “free weekend” for both of us. The weekend after that, there is a cancer walk that we are playing at on Friday night, and then a big event Saturday two hours south of here, for which we are chartering a bus and will be gone the entire day. There is a performance, or two, nearly every single week between now and the end of September in addition to our weekly rehearsals and independent practicing. Most of the members of the band are retired; perhaps this doesn’t seem like such a huge commitment to them considering they have forty more hours in the week than I do.

I love my sax. But do I love it to the exclusion of my other interests and my free time? Absolutely not. So what do I do now?

Guess What?!

(Song selection? Any suggestions? Or better yet, just go listen to “In the Mood” originally performed by Glenn Miller & Orchestra, because this is one of the songs I’m trying to learn.)

I’m so excited about my newest thing: I joined a band!! No, this is not a garage band dreaming of record deals and groupies. This group is a local community band that performs many summer-through-holidaze concerts, ranging from appearances at fairs, parades, and other country-living events statewide. Fortunately, we will not be playing all country and bluegrass music.

I haven’t played with a group since high school; I am used to being a soloist, free to choose and interpret music as my ear sees fit. It feels strange, yet familiar in a riding-a-bike way, to look over the page to a director at the front reminding us of the beat, the drum behind trying to do the same, and the sounds of many performers playing individual parts to come together as a harmonious sound. Of course, as a tenor sax player, I sit near the back, so I don’t always hear all the sounds in front of me.

I am, by far, the youngest person in the group, which I’m told, numbers 40-50 in the middle of the summer. I also play the oldest looking instrument; my sax is an early 1940’s King Zephyr. Judging by looks and the effort required to play it, it has had a hard life. I really do love my sax, but if I had the money for a replacement, this one could be retired. I don’t need or want a brand-shiny new instrument; I would like a well made, well maintained, vintage horn. The tonal quality matures over time, much like a fine wine needs to age. Besides, a brand new, shiny yellow colored sax doesn’t evoke the same feeling of down-and-out old time blues, which this sax snob feels is absolutely necessary.

I’ve now been to two rehearsals and received brand new music both nights. Or first performance is next weekend, with no more rehearsals before then. I’m one step beyond sight reading, and I’m the only tenor who was even given the music for the performance. We are going to suck!! But I’m having so much fun. In these last couple of weeks, our rehearsals have been the only events in my life that keep me smiling from beginning to hours afterwards.