Monday, December 17, 2007

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Everyone

From Merrick Central in Nashville, Tennessee, I want to wish everyone on the face of the planet a Merry Christmas and a Happy (you fill in the blank). There's a lot of talk about "Killing Christmas" in the media this year, the phenomenon of "politically correctnessing" the holiday by tailoring one's greetings to embrace any possible faith or belief. Coming from a background of very uncommitted Methodism--we only made it to the occasional Christmas Eve service and always to "Sunrise Services" on Easter Mornings, I suspect because those latter were held outside in Centennial Park--I have mixed feelings about this. I do tend to agree with my friend Walter Jowers' words in a recent "Helter Shelter" column for the Nashville Scene:

You people who want retail clerks to holy up Christmas for you, listen to me. They’re clerks. They don’t make the rules. They’re just doing what the corporate weasels upstream tell them to do. It’s just like the greeters at PoFolks restaurants hollering, “Howdy! Welcome to PoFolks!” They’re just trying to move some merchandise while pissing off the minimum number of customers. Nobody’s going to kill Christmas.

--Jowers, Walter Sprucing Up the Holidays. (2007, December 6). Nashville Scene

All that said, by the time the winter holidays come rolling around every year, the Nashville Merricks are ready to party. We attend Christ Church Cathedral in downtown Nashville, joining a rich community of diverse folks in an annual Christmas Pageant that is as down-to-earth and full of cheer and reverence as any event I can imagine. This year, the pageant organizers asked Miranda to sing "O Holy Night" and she did so with characteristic beauty and style, bringing joyful tears to many of us, myself included. I videoed her sound check with a Flip Video cam, not the best audio but enough to enjoy a tear or two for yourself if you're of a mind. Note the random guitar tuning at the start. Here it is, ripped from the video file and unedited, accompanied by Geoffrey Butcher, a glowing human being in his own right.

Miranda's college audition CD, three songs recorded in songwriter and friend Kent Agee's home studio in about an hour and a half a couple weeks ago, went out to the two higher education institutions of her choice last week. She sang, from memory, an Italian piece, a German piece, and "Butterflies and Moths," a piece by British contemporary composer Andrew Carter. I won't share these recordings here because of copyright restrictions, but suffice it to say that they are masterfully performed. Dear friend and Miranda's childhood mentor Margie Proctor accompanied her (on very short notice!) and I will cherish the record of Miranda's youthful and evermore beautiful voice always. When she's onstage singing with Josh Groban, I will remember when...

The rest of us are doing fine, and to keep this from sounding like one of those annual "What's up with the Merricks?" epistles, I'm stopping now. It's the last week of school and there's work to do. Friday at noon, I'm off for two weeks hanging with my family. I hope you're as lucky in your own way. Cheers, Peace, and Love,


P.S.: Moose Nuggets for Christmas and The Elf Who's King of Country :)-- smile and hold close those you love...

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