I’m making a joyful noise – Why is no one glad?
Christmas may be over at your house, but it’s still playing in the background at mine. The Christmas music comes out on November 1 and may not go back into hibernation until the end of January. There are simply too many holiday songs to fit into a single month.
My Christmas playlists alternate between workout music (Should someone my age be listening to Trans-Siberian Orchestra on the treadmill?) Another playlist seems to be composed of only O Holy Night, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, and the Little Drummer Boy playing every third song. Pentatonix gets its own playlist and can only be fully appreciated when I have an empty room to loudly add my own harmony.
The Christmas music binge started a long time ago.
In 1968, my dad pulled the 65 Ford Galaxy into the gas station to “fill ‘er up.” As a reward for buying a full tank of gas, he was given a red-covered Firestone Presents Your Favorite Christmas Music vinyl record that featured Leontyne Price and the Vienna Boys Choir. We didn’t even have a record player at home. But one soon appeared, a console wider than today’s treadmill with speaker panels in the front and storage compartments on both sides of the turntable.
Several years ago, I purchased several more Firestone Christmas albums, but none of them held the same beauty for me as that 1968 volume 7 version. Link to the Firestone albums: https://www.amazon.com/firestone-christmas-albums/s?k=firestone+christmas+albums
That wonderful gift initiated a not-so-famous singing career for my brother Ken and me. We would take turns standing on the little brown vinyl hassock in the living, and belt out “Good Christian Men Rejoice” or “Ding Dong Merrily on High.” Later, we pretended to be Vestal or Howard of the Happy Goodmans or one of the regulars from Hee Haw. We continued to fill the living room through our teen years, singing along with Johnny Cash and the Statler Brothers.
At Christmas time, we could always hear Mom singing along to the radio, especially when Brenda Lee came on with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Dad wasn’t much of a singer. He claimed to sing solo – so low no one could hear him. Dad really did have a knack for that one note.
I eventually made the switch to rock ‘n roll, capturing Billboard hits playing from the radio to my cassette tape recorder. One day, my little sister ventured into the room while I was recording a favorite song. She thought it would be funny to sing along. I didn’t want my recording ruined. I muzzled her mouth with my palm and knocked out a loose tooth. That brought even more noise.
Blasting it out from the back seat
It must have driven Dad nearly bananas when the four of us, three kids and my mother, started the almost constant car sing-a-longs. We didn’t go anywhere without singing at the top of our lungs. We harmonized the daylights out of those old songs. Worse yet, we often invented our own lyrics. I hate to tell you what we did to the song “I’m looking over a four-leaf clover.”
I’m not sure when we stopped singing together. Probably about the time my brother got his driver’s license. It just wasn’t the same without the alternating bass/tenor part of the harmony.
But every Christmas, we still get together. We eat a big meal (or two if we can manage it), play some rowdy board games, and tell stories about the good old days. But usually, we enjoy some of our favorite Christmas music. It may not sound like a joyful noise. Newer family members sometimes use the words “cringe” and “Well, that was interesting.” But it’s a beautiful sound to me.
More Christmas Stories: https://debrichmond.com/christmas-past-and-present/