December 21st, 2015


A musical interlude

Now our extracurricular Christmas responsibilities have finally been completed. Last night, we had a musical fireside, which was basically just a bunch of wards taking turns singing songs with a narration to tie them together. Athena and I were asked to take part in our ward's offering, and this time I got to sing instead of play the piano! Of course I love to do both, but since I'm playing the piano 99.99999% of the time, it's nice to get to sing occasionally.

It seemed like it would be a relatively stress-free thing to do--you just get up there, you sing the song you've sung a thousand times before ("With Wondering Awe", in this case), and you're done! But of course, we didn't want to sing it straight out of the hymnbook, so the rest of the group thought about how we could jazz it up a little, and our accompanist (the bass's wife, who used to be the go-to music person but is in her eighties so people want to give her a break and that's why they call me) came up with a little arrangement she had. It was almost just like the hymnbook version, only with some different accompaniment, and an extra ending attached. And the extra ending went up to a high G! What! Athena was our soprano, and since neither of us is a true soprano (I'd say we're both pretty mezzo, like most of the planet (we assume)), this was quite the intimidating arrangement. Fortunately, she managed to hit the note and (we think) not make people want to shove screwdrivers in their ears, and then there was still a good chunk of the program left, so people could be distracted in case it wasn't so great.

I know the two of US Were distracted, anyway, because one of the wards performed an arrangement of "Mary, Did You Know?" I think I might have heard it once or twice before and just forgot about it, but this year, it has been popping up All Over our Facebook feed. We didn't watch any of the videos, because we just usually don't watch music videos on Facebook (except for "What Does the Fox Say?" but that one's an exception because it's the awesomest of awesome things), but now here it was, so we listened to it. It was funny, because I was also the pianist for the stake choir and the congregational numbers, so I was sitting up on the stand and I got to look at the whole congregation and see who all was mouthing the words along with the soloist. Some of them got really into it, which was amusing.

What was less than amusing was the lyrics, and that's what had us distracted for the rest of the night. For those of you who haven't heard it, the song is basically a series of questions directed at Mary, asking if she knew if she was giving birth to the Savior of the world. We just sat there mouthing to each other (Athena was sitting with the stake choir in the pews), "Yes. She knew." And after it was over, we kept going on and on about it, like, "I'm pretty sure she figured it out when the angel came and told her she would be giving birth to the Savior." And then, "Even if she hadn't realized by then, even if the immaculate conception didn't tip her off, surely she would have known something was up when the shepherds showed up at the stable and said, 'So, uh, some angels just told us the Son of God was born. We think this is where they told us to go...'" Etc. etc. ...So I guess the lyrics were pretty amusing after all, since we used them to amuse ourselves for hours after the event.

On a less snarky note, after the presentation, there were refreshments, which were sadly lacking in the chocolate department. But there was hot chocolate! ...Which we didn't drink, because we don't like hot drinks, but when it was all over, they didn't want to throw out the leftovers, so they filled some juice jugs with the still hot chocolate and handed one of them to us to take home. It's now in our refrigerator, waiting for us to partake of it at some point. I'm just a little extra excited about it, because they mixed it with cinnamon and hazelnut creamer, and while we waited to leave, we had the jug open so it could breathe (we weren't sure if sealing hot chocolate in that kind of plastic container might cause it to melt some of the plastic and mix with toxic elements; maybe we were paranoid, but it doesn't hurt to be careful, right?), and it was right under my nose and smelled very interesting. But we've been busy today (as usual), so we haven't had a chance to try it yet.

In conclusion, an amusing story featuring our wise little church friend. We were in the kitchen seeing if there was any good bread to take home, and our trip to Knott's Berry Farm got brought up. We told someone that we got boysenberry honey, but we didn't buy corn muffin mix at the park (instead we bought some Jiffy mix at the grocery store) because we'd already spent a lot of money on plush toys. Athena said, "They had plush boysenberries. What do you expect from us?" And our wise little church friend replied, "I expect you to buy them." It's always nice to see people picking up on patterns. (She saw firsthand how much we love plush toys when she came to our place to practice her song for the Relief Society activity.)

Today I'm thankful for getting our schedule almost back to normal, having some hazelnut chilled cocoa to try, having corn muffin mix, not having any trauma bringing the eggs home (to use in the corn muffin mix, of course), and having a lovely time at the stake musical fireside event thingie last night.