It’s the most musical time of the year, but also the most busy time of the year. Let’s be honest, many of us musicians don’t look forward to the holiday season. Many of our evenings are spent in rehearsals and preparation for concerts, services and activities. If you are a parent, you can double that time due to added concerts and activities of your kids. When all the rehearsals are done and we finally get to the actual performance or service, I do enjoy that time, but the craziness of the schedule leading up to it causes me to question why I continue this every year.
The Christmas Eve service adds to the pressure. For many churches it brings the largest attendance of the year. It has to be the best thing we do! There is no room for error on this one. It has taken me many years to learn a simple concept many of you may already put into practice but it is worth saying here… “less is more.” I have found a simple candlelight service with the congregation singing traditional carols, and maybe an added special music, really ministers to our church family. It creates a certain nostalgia, giving people a feeling of singing around the piano with the family, a Norman Rockwell kind of Christmas. Pick some beautiful yet simple pieces that will speak to the heart and take minimal rehearsal time to perfect. Let your congregation sing their hearts out with some of the best loved carols sung year after year. For the sake of your sanity and that of your musicians, consider a “less is more” Christmas Eve Service. And celebrate the most musical time of the year!
1) Plan for a quiet evening at home at least once or twice in November & December. Shut off your phone, get a cup of hot chocolate and put on your favorite Christmas movie. Allow yourself to let down. “BE STILL, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
2) Take a few minutes in a choir rehearsal and simply play a recording of a song that encourages them to “be still” and refresh their minds and spirits.
Sing on, friend!
R. Kevin Boesiger
Editor’s note: Here are some Christmas selections for smaller choirs.