Usually it initially takes Bruce Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” cranked to the max on my car radio, or a huge snowstorm to really put me in the Christmas spirit. This year, I needed a little bit more than that. I’m not sure why I needed something else – maybe the bronchitis and double ear infection I was suffering from or the fact that I am still unemployed contributed to the lack of spirit, but I was definitely feeling a little blue – until Sunday night, that is.
My decision to attend the Christmas concert at Christ Church was fueled by two factors: a friend who sings with the group and my need to get “into the spirit.” Plus, I had attended a concert in the summer and was very impressed by the Christ Church Singers. Expertly guided by Mary Jane Phelan (“MJ” to her friends) the choir’s singing was once again spectacular. Four bell-ringers contributed brilliantly and completed the Christmas sound.
For me, beautiful Christ Church, so simple yet so elegant, epitomizes Pawling’s ultimate gathering place. Sitting in the church, listening to renditions of thirteen different songs thoroughly cured my blues and quite simply, put me into the Christmas spirit. The eclectic mix of both early lyrics (some with origins from as far back as 1580) and contemporary renditions worked perfectly.
The Singers began with the classic “O Come All Ye Faithful.” At intermission, while the choir rested their voices, Ms. Phelan invited the audience to call out and requests Christmas carols we would like to sing. This was an unexpected event – and I was hesitant due to my recent illness but I chimed in, nonetheless, happily.
The Singers finished with a song called “Christmas Joy” and it seemed so appropriate because the joyous expression and pride on Ms. Phelan’s face was contagious. Thank you all for a beautiful Christmas concert and for, most of all, putting me in the mood!!