Our Christmas Eve Church Service: Mother and Daughter in a Tricky Trio

Me and Mom Christmas Eve 2021

There’s a story here concerning my mom and me performing in a trio during our Marshall First UMC Christmas Eve Service.

We weren’t meant to be a trio.

We were only meant to be a part of the choir but when the college student who was to sing with her friend became exposed to Covid by a roommate, thus bowing out of the service, our organist/choir director Jo Sanders was desperate. Who could she turn to at the last minute to step in?

My mom was choir director for over 30 years at our church. She also is a retired music teacher, a music major who specialized in voice. She can read music at the drop of a hat so she was a logical choice as a stand-in.

I, on the other hand, am not that adept at reading music but if it’s the melody, I can hold my own. Thus I was also enlisted to complete what was to be a duet but now became a trio.

On Thursday the 23rd, our trio had a short, 30-minute practice session with recent college graduate Jocelyn, who was to sing first soprano. I was to be second soprano and my mom, alto.

Let me just say there were a LOT of words in that song, The Innkeeper’s Carol. The copy we all had wasn’t so great as there was no original music score to Xerox from. Jo searched in the music files but couldn’t find any, thus my mom and I really struggled to piece together the verses. Jocelyn, being much younger than us, didn’t seem to have visual difficulties but remember, she had a lot longer to practice this thing than we did.

At home, my mom and I went over our music at the piano numerous times. At first, it was an agonizing procedure squinting at our copies, trying desperately to make sense of the faintly visible print while we harmonized our parts. The pressure finally got the better of us. We began giggling so much at our interpreted guesses that we barely made it through the piece from beginning to end.

“Wonder who that baby possibly can be?” became “Wonder who that baby probably can be?”

“Now a baby sleeps upon my stable floor” became “Now a baby sleeps upon my standup door.”

“Up above I hear a host of angels sing” became “Up above I hear a hoard of angels sing.”

“Yonder there are shepherds kneeling by his bed” became “Yonder there are shepherds kneading by his head.”

“Somewhere there are bells, I’m sure I heard them ring” became “Somewhere there is hell, I’m sure I heard him sing.”

It goes on from there but you can see why we got so punchy. While we had great fun during our at-home rehearsal time, the kicker came when it was time to sing for the final performance. This took place in front of the congregation with Jocelyn and was recorded, going out live on Facebook.

Did we slip up and move into our comedy routine during this solemn, holy occasion?

Take a look and find out. Hear anything amiss? That’s my tantalizing invite to get you to listen. Enjoy, folks!! We certainly did.


About connieinchina

I have been in the Asia region for 30 years as an English language teacher. 28 of those have been spent with the Amity Foundation, a Chinese NGO that works in all areas of development for the Chinese people. Amity teachers are placed at small colleges throughout China as instructors of English language majors in the education field. In other words, my students will one day be English teachers themselves in their small villages or towns once they graduate. Currently, this is my 13th year in Luzhou Vocational and Technical College. The college is located in Luzhou city (loo-joe), Sichuan Province, a metropolis of 5 million people located next to the Yangtze River .
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1 Response to Our Christmas Eve Church Service: Mother and Daughter in a Tricky Trio

  1. Kate says:

    Have enjoyed your service this NY’s Day evening. The young trumpet player was sensational. Enjoyed the youth bell choir, too…..bells just put one in the holiday spirit. The young 1st soprano had a lovely voice. As anticipated her cohorts had done their homework……the fun you had preparing I’m sure added to the smiles on your faces at the actual moment. Thanks for sharing, I’m sending it on to my sister, choir director at 1st Methodist, El Dorado, KS.

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