Student Experience Blog

Earlier Every Year

I suppose it shouldn't have surprised me that much, but upon my return to C of I after a delightful Thanksgiving Break, I found a stocking hanging on my dorm room door. And this wasn't a mini stocking fit for a newborn--this was a legitimate stocking, ready for Santa to stuff with lots of toys and goodies. It even had my name on it. One of my suitemates was thoughtful enough to have prepared stockings for everyone in the group, encouraging us to leave small gifts in each one before we close for the Holiday Break three weeks from now. And if that wasn't enough to get us in the Christmas spirit, another suitemate of mine was more than happy to force it upon us with the Christmas stylings of the cast of Fox's Glee.

Yes, with the turkey devoured and all the thanks properly given, it's to be expected that Christmas cheer will begin overcoming even the grouchiest of Grinches. Everyone usually begins to cave into their winter desires around this time--light jackets are traded for festive sweaters, ancient Halloween candy is replaced with home baked frosted cookies, all the light rock stations eschew their 80s and 90s pop for carols of the 17th and 18th centuries. December is nearly here, after all--those 25 days aren't going to count themselves.

When I was younger, I was always super excited for the Christmas season to start, because to my young mind, it started at exactly the right time: December. But the older i got and the more choirs I began singing with, the more I began to dread the holidays.

Before you start with the catcalls of "Humbug!", allow me to clarify that I don't hate Christmas. Far from it. Christmas is and always has been my favorite holiday. What I dread about the Christmas season is the music...not because it's all terrible or too old, but because I need to sing it earlier and earlier every year.

Anyone following the Student Experience Blog knows how involved I am in choir, but what you may not know is just how early choirs start working on a Christmas repitoire. To put it in perspective, most holiday choir concerts happen in late November or the middle of December to allow for choir members to spend as much time with their families as possible during the weeks leading to Christmas. Since holiday concerts are easily the most attended choir concerts of all due to the influx of family members arriving in town for visits (plus the wonderful qualities of choral holiday music), choirs know they have to bring their A game to the stage. Any choir devoted enough to their fanbase knows to start planning for that concert as soon as they can.

As a result, I've been singing holiday music since October to prepare for the upcoming Feast of Carols, where all of C of I's choirs will perform holiday classics for their final concert of the semester. That's including jazz choir, who has a Christmas gig of their own this very week in the student union building, complete with eggnog and cookies. For someone in all 3 of the choirs here, that's a lot of Christmas cheer to spread at once.

Usually, by the time those concerts roll around, I am completely burnt out when it comes to Christmas music, which is especially painful considering its around that time that most normal people start getting into it again.. All the years of high school choir haven't dulled that pain in the slightest, unfortunately.

But hey, at least all of it will be awesome and entertaining, right? Sit back and sip some hot chocolate and enjoy the upcoming shows.

-Clayton Gefre