It has been very rainy in Southern California, but last night I made my way, alone, to El Camino College (where I worked for eight years when I was much younger) to participate in the annual Sing-a-long Messiah in the Haag Recital Hall. (I had the pleasure of working with Bob Haag, an incredible man who is dead now). I have never sung the Messiah in the chorus with a "real choir," and I do not technically read music. But, Handel's Messiah is the most inspiring music I personally have ever heard. I have my own score and I often play the two disc CDs during Christmas and Easter seasons. I sit in the living room, often singing along with the parts I know.
Last night I sat in the alto section and fortunately the women around me were very strong singers so I successfully muddled along. The orchestra, solists and the chorus (us) were magnificent as far as I was concerned. The conductor was the spirited and beautiful Dr. Joanna Nachef dressed in tiered red chiffon with a red chandelier necklace. She told us the history of G.F. Handel's masterpiece and introduced the principals and the orchestra and explained how we all fit in. We were off and running. We rose for the chorus parts and all of us, of course, rose for the Halleluia chorus. We weren't as professional as this Bethany College performance, but I felt 12 miles high last night when I left El Camino.
For me, the Christmas season has officially arrived. The Advent wreath is out, the tree is up, the house is decorated, most presents are purchased, and I have sung the Messiah. What symbols and activities make Christmas alive for you?