Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Getting Ready to Sing

This coming weekend is carols time! Jeff Seager and I will be on the road to the eastern panhandle of West Virginia to present three programs of the stories and songs of the season. This is our third year for our carols program and each year we've added new songs to our repertoire as we explore the world of Christmas music--not the music only, but the stories and history behind the songs. We've found intriguing tales of rebellious teens, hard luck, desperation, inspiration, the Underground Railroad, war, and druidic influence.

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the music--not the current popular singers twisting the songs into some arrangement painful to listen to, but the music performed by choirs (some of these can be painful too, however!) and musicians who understand the heart of the songs. I've long been curious about the origins of some of the songs--who wrote them, where, why and when. So a few years ago I asked Jeff, who plays guitar and sings, if he'd be interested in working on a program with me, researching the history and lore behind songs both familiar and not so well known.

This year we'll add the standard Deck the Halls, with an interesting connection to Appalachian culture, Go Tell it on the Mountain, a spiritual collected in the earliest written collection of black music in the US, and Mary Had a Little Baby, another spiritual with a surprising place of origin, and I Saw Three Ships, a song I remember my mother singing at the holidays.

Our first performance is Friday night at the Berkeley Springs Presbyterian Church in Berkeley Springs, WV, at 7:00pm. We also have two house concerts scheduled, one in Maryland and one in Virginia, so I'm keeping a watchful eye on the weather, which could play some tricks this weekend. Keep your fingers crossed for us that all is merry and bright and not snowy and icy!


Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

4 comments:

Sue said...

I love Go Tell It on the Mountain and I Saw Three Ships. This sounds like a real cool program you are offering.

=)

Michelle said...

Have a safe trip!

B. WHITTINGTON said...

Praying you have great weather and a good time.
Blessings, Barb

Granny Sue said...

Thank you, friends! I am looking forward to it; this is my favorite program of the year :)

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