At the weekend, probably like a lot of you, I decided it was time to take down the Christmas decorations. I think there’s a rule somewhere which states that decorations must be kept up until the 12th night of Christmas but not a moment longer. If you break this rule, apparently Satan will haunt you forever or some such nonsense! So with this in mind, although more for reasons of practicality, on Sunday afternoon the Christmas decorations were once again taken down and packed away into a dark corner of the attic for another year.
Now I love Christmas, and I do like to see all the decorations in the shops and Christmas lights everywhere you go. But I’m not entirely sure about Christmas decorations at home. Yes, it’s nice to have a sparkly tree which looks all welcoming and puts me in mind to drink mulled wine and eat copious numbers of mince pies. But I don’t like to over do it with too much glitter and sparkle everywhere!
So as the house was being de sparkled (de cluttered!) I turned my thoughts to choir music. And to an extent you see the same principle. Many choirs will have spent most of December singing Carols and Christmas songs, which will now all be put back into the archives for another 11 months to gather dust until they are called upon again next Christmas.
January is, for many people and organisations, a chance to start afresh. It’s an ideal opportunity to do something new and possibly even ground breaking! For choirs, the new term starting back in January is naturally a good time to start learning some new music for the year ahead. For choir leaders and musical directors the question is, do you introduce entirely new music or should you also include some existing repertoire? Or should you just focus on the songs you were looking at before you dropped everything to learn Christmas Carols?
I like the idea of introducing new music in January. I often think that Choirs expect that, for reasons discussed above. January is a time of doing all things new. However, it is also important to build on the repertoire for your choir. They should always have music which is well known and can be sung at a moments notice. After all, choirs often spend a lot of rehearsal time learning a song, so it’s a shame for it to be brought out once and then never sung again. So this year, I will be combining the new with the old. Every choir will be getting some new music to learn in January but I also want to really consolidate some of the learning which has been done on songs in previous years.