I hope all have had wonderful Christmases! All three grandparents are here now, with my Mom & Dad arriving last night about fifteen minutes before we headed off for midnight mass.
I was polite this year. I asked permission from the choir director to sing descants to the congregation hymns, which she very graciously gave. Unfortunately "The First Noel" was not part of the line-up, which is my best hymn for singing descant. However, we led off with "Oh Come, All Ye Faithful" which has a lovely descant, and finished with "Silent Night" for which I do a descant that's all my own (and it came out pretty nice to, if I do say so myself).
The church choir is a decent choir, but I think (and Rob agrees) that I should not join. They're about a dozen people, mostly older, with mostly decent senses of pitch, and pretty good voices. They get a little wobbly when they're unsure, but straighten out nicely when they get to things they know well. They can do four part harmony credibly, if without much flair. In short, for a church choir at a small church, they're pretty darned good.
Unfortunately, if I joined them, it would be "Cindy and the Choir". My voice does not blend well with "average decent voice". I'd sound like the flute in the middle of the clarinet section - and my voice doesn't do clarinet - so I would either have to sing barely above a whisper at all times, or actually make the choir sound worse. I had rather suspected this - long experience tells me that I need to either be in a choir of more than forty people, or I need to be with people with a similar vocal quality to mine - but I didn't know for certain until I actually heard the entire choir.
Which leaves me with a little bit of a dilemma, because the choir is all but stalking me. The choir director and at least six other people are actively trying to recruit me every time I hold still long enough. They hear me sing, and nice voice = should be in the choir. I'm a bit at a loss as to how to decline without making it sound like I think they suck (they very much don't), or like I'm completely stuck on myself. "I'll overpower your entire choir, even if I'm trying not to" is not exactly a modest statement - but it's true nonetheless. Sigh.
At least I didn't have to listen to "Oh, Holy Night" being mangled this year. The choir director sang, and did a very respectable job of it. I was still champing the bit a little, because she's an alto and sensibly chose to avoid the high notes, but it certainly wasn't painful to listen to. (For those playing along, my particular Christmas doom appears to be being forced to listen to "Oh, Holy Night" be mangled over and over again, while I'm absolutely dying to sing it for somebody, sometime, and never get the chance.)
Christmas morning got a late start, due to our peculiar children, who view Christmas morning as a great chance to sleep in. Once we got going though, things went very well. The boys are delighted with their various presents (Wii games, science kits, Bakugan starter set, dinosaur stuff for Aaron, books for Robbie, clothes for both), and have been very hard to pry away from the Wii so far today. Rob's main present is the car (which he still adores), but he also a digital camara, a couple of books, some new kitchen knives, and Guitar Hero: World Tour. My main present is the laptop I've had since the beginning of Nano (and still adore), but I got my piano books (Cristofori's Dream is coming along nicely), some scented shower gel, a reed diffuser, and a couple of books. The grandparents got various and sundry goods - books, videos, a TomTom, clothing, etc.. Everyone seems quite happy with their gifts. Rob fed us prime rib and the adults settled in for a good evening of chit-chat, while the kids played Super Smash Bros.. A good day, and a very merry Christmas all around.
On a slightly different note - I have a website I have got to pass on. For the role-playing fans in your life who have trouble with housework, I present Chore Wars. Go on adventures! Make the bed while fighting off the fearsome bedbugs! Anoint the kitchen floors with holy cleaning fluid, to ward off the dust bunnies and earth elementals! Essentially, you create role-playing characters. Your dungeon master creates adventures (chores), which earn you experience and gold pieces. Various monsters can show up when you claim your chore at the website, and you try to defeat them. As you go up in experience, you get stronger and can defeat bigger monsters. (I'm not looking forward to the first day the red dragon shows up while I'm cooking dinner.) Is it cheesy? Sure! But anything that makes Robbie run off saying "I get to make the bed! Woohoo!" on Christmas, is worth a little cheese. And it wasn't even his bed, it was his brother's. Go, Chore Wars!