It's November, meaning the holiday season has begun! I stopped by Macy's the other day and they were already all decorated for Christmas. The store had twinkling lights and trees throughout the store, you couldn’t help but be brought into the holiday mood! For musicians (and most people in general) the holidays are an incredibly busy time. All sorts of performances pop up, from private events such as festive parties, brunches or dinners (maybe even a winter wedding), to tree lighting ceremonies and holiday concerts.
As a freelance musician it is one of the best (and busiest) times of the year!
I wanted to dedicate a post about some holiday events I tend to play for every year, and how I hope they've brought a little holiday spirit to those who were listening. Perhaps they will bring you some joy and maybe even some inspiration for planning (or attending) future holiday events.
The Holiday Party:
I’ve played a lot of these over the years, of many different kinds. There are a few different types of parties that I get asked to play every year. Some of these parties are intimate family events, others are hosted by a large group of friends or a company, and others are holiday brunches. The type of music can vary from party to party. I typically get asked to play only holiday music, or with a mixture of some purely classical pieces intertwined. My solo holiday repertoire ranges from the classics such as Greensleeves through to Jingle Bells. I always stick to fun, exuberant pieces and aim to insert the holiday spirit into the party’s atmosphere through my music. If sing-a-long’s happen (and sometimes they do), I’m always happy to oblige!
The Tree Lighting:
Tree Lightings are commonly given by towns and communities, or by rehabilitation/nursing homes. In the past I’ve been asked to play either purely holiday themed music, or a mixture of background/classical. They can be indoors or outdoors. I much prefer the indoor ones for the obvious reason (outside is cold!). For the outdoor ones, I typically have to restrict my playing and time the harp is outside due to the colder temperatures. The harp is a delicate instrument and doesn’t do well in extreme hot or cold temperatures.
The Choral/Orchestral Concert:
November and December are always filled with holiday concerts given by professional music groups, universities and churches. The repertoire varies, and each concert carries a certain theme or program. These are fun for all ages (including for the musicians)! One of the holiday concert series I always enjoy playing with is the Westerly Chorus Pops that occur in mid-December. I will be updating my concert calendar shortly to showcase the fun holiday concert's I’ll be performing in next month.
The Winter Wedding:
These are a little rarer, as my typical wedding season is May through to October. However, I have been asked to perform for weddings outside of those typical summer months and often the wedding carries a winter theme. For the couple that enjoys the winter season, a winter wedding is perfect. These weddings still typically take place inside for the comfort of their guests. However, the attire and decorations are characteristically designed on the theme of winter. As the musician, musical pieces that are on this theme or embrace that calming, serene note associated with the change of seasons are perfect.
The Holiday Season is a lovely time for family, friends and loved ones to get together and enjoy each other’s company, and what is celebration without music? I hope music will find its way into part of your celebration and aid in your holiday festivities!