But no birds fainting in dread, etc, yet (& thank goodness for that).
What we do have, though, is snow – lots of it, too, and settling fast – and Christmas carols. It felt quite strange to be rehearsing “In the Deep Midwinter” today with heavy snow falling outside the windows. But rehearsing for the Kew staff carol service is another of those things, like baking my Christmas cake, that makes it feel Christmas is on its way.
This year we are doing “In the Bleak Midwinter” (unfortunately in what I think of as the “dirge” setting, not the folk-song-like one we used at school), “The Shepherds’ Farewell” (aargh! – I hate singing Berlioz; all those sharps and flats and key changes…) and “Unto us is born a Son” and the “Sussex Carol”, both of which are lovely.
Our regular choirmaster, Nigel, has sadly had to step back this year following a bereavement. My prayers are with him; I know how it feels to lose a parent, I know how it feels to find yourself absolutely wrenched apart by pieces of music you have never before thought of as emotional, and – well, my thoughts and prayers are with him. Standing in for him is the very capable Tall Woman from IT (taller than me! Yay!). She’s doing a fine job, though I miss Nigel’s unique capacity to be boundlessly encouraging in the face of the most disheartening choral noises. Tall Woman is managing okay with the conducting despite never having done it before, and she has a sense of humour, and I think we’re going to pull it all together and do her credit in the end.
The snow is still settling. Rats! Home through the snow, brrr...