A friend of ours is a musician who plays in local volunteer groups. He has a different take on holiday music that we thought we’d share.

This is the time of year when people look forward to holiday concerts. At venues all over the area, local musical groups put on free and not so free performances of all your holiday favorites. You can hear concert bands at nursing homes, bell choirs in the gazebo on the town square, choruses in the mall, and small combos in whatever cafe nooks they can find. There is nothing like live music, which sets the tone for the season, and creates the backdrop for the memories we carry with us always.

But as you’re just now starting to find your way to the live musical performances, we musicians have been rehearsing for weeks. One of the groups I play in began the holiday repertoire in early October, so we could be ready by this week, when we play the first of five concerts. Another of the groups I’m in (neither group is blog friendly, in that they do not have a web presence I can link to) started in late October. My friend’s bell choir started weeks ago.

I’ve rehearsed Frosty the Snowman 6 times so far, The Christmas Song 5 times, Festive Sounds of Hanukkah (my personal favorite to play) 7 times and the Nightmare Before Christmas about 15 (it was new and we really needed the work on it). There was also a piece called the Eighth Candle (or something like that), with a tricky 5/8 time that we never polished up enough to present in public. Maybe next year.

You would think we’re sick of it, but I can tell you we are not. I guess I cannot speak for all my band mates, but I’ve been playing Christmas and Hanukka music for almost 20 years now and I’m never tired of it. But I can say I don’t listen to much of it on the radio until the last few days before Christmas. And since I rarely shop, I’m not subjected to the overhead music inspiring me to buy, buy, buy.

Here’s what you can do to help your local musicians, Show up. Listen. Applaud. That’s all we ask. It makes weeks of rehearsal completely worth it

On behalf of our friend and all the people who give their time and talents to entertain us, please go see some live music during the holidays. We know we’ll be there.