Sunday, December 18, 2011

New Piano

I have wanted a piano since John and I bought our first house in 2001. To me, a house doesn't really feel like a home without that tangible representation of music, something the whole family can share and enjoy. For a while we had an old player piano that I got for free from a church. It was an enormous upright with a solid metal frame, the player had been removed so it sounded kind of hollow and the stain had cracked and was peeling off in spots. It was a monstrosity that consumed our entire living room. At John's insistence we got rid of it before we moved to our current home. My sister-in-law gave me an older digital keyboard to use in place of it until we could find another real piano. Then last year Samuel started piano lessons and my desire for a piano became an actual family need. John and I put a lot of thought and research into our piano shopping. It took a year but finally, last month, on Black Friday - the day of wonderful sales, we bought a piano... The wrong piano. We were debating between two pianos, an upper tier Yamaha upright with a Queen Anne cabinet and a mahogany Essex upright. Essex is a newer brand, 10-15 yrs old, designed by Steinway and Sons. John and I both really liked the Essex piano but it was quite a bit more money and I could not justify the extra expense so we decided on the Yamaha. It was a nice, sturdy piano and would fit well in our home and be great for the kids to learn on. But as we drove away from the store instead of experiencing the expected elation, I felt sick. John and I talked it over and when he realized that I made the decision on what was more practical, not what I loved, he insisted we go back and get the Essex upright. I called my mom and sisters for some impartial-ish advice on the subject and they all agreed with John. So the next day, John and I took the kids with us to go and purchase our new Essex. Samuel even brought along his music books to test it out. He was almost as excited as me. The piano salesman had the good grace not to laugh out loud at my indecision. Last week, on Thursday, the piano arrived and we have not stopped playing it since. Samuel even pulled out his beginning piano books and started teaching James the basics! And every time I walk past the piano I grin and giggle a little because it makes me all sorts of goofy happy. We have a piano! Picture coming soon!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Our church does Handel's Messiah as a sing along every year.  The last two years I was in charge of coordinating the rehearsals, decorations, food, choir and orchestra and everything else in between.  This year it was someone else's job. (Hooray!)  And although I had every intention of participating in the choir just for the fun of it, I never really made it to the rehearsals.  Last week I was talking to my friend, Liz, who is running the show this year and she asked me to come and bolster the alto section.  So with one rehearsal under my belt, instead of the usual six, I jumped up there and sang tonight.  I have had a cold for three weeks and left my husband home with three somewhat grumpy kids. 
As I was driving to the church I kept thinking, "I SO don't want to do this.  Maybe I should just turn around and go home."  But I didn't.  I arrived at church, warmed up with the choir, said a prayer that I wouldn't mess everyone up too much and sang. 
The soloists did a wonderful job and the orchestra, despite a few gaffes, had some really talented players and a great sound.  Partway through I found myself thinking, "Hey, this isn't so bad, maybe it is a good thing I came."  And then it happened.  Somewhere in the middle of the last song, The Hallelujah Chorus, it hit me- that feeling that makes the whole thing worthwhile.  This is Christmas.   This music, the feeling that threatens to rise up and choke me with tears- this is the reason that we sing this music. 
Liz gave us a little pep talk before we started and what she said is the perfect description for how I felt in the middle of that chorus.  She said, "When I think about the birth of our Savior and about the choirs of angels proclaiming His birth, this is the music I hear."  Exactly.  Or, really, Hallelujah!