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7 days: Music in the air

Today was recital day. We baked treats, we started a crock-pot dinner, we practiced the piano like crazy, we straightened the house. The recital went well. Some of Jon's students have come and gone over the years, but a couple of them have been around for us to watch grow up. There's a certain joy in that. I realized today that I've been baking for recitals for about seven years now, although it feels a little different now that our own child is among the performers. Calvin seemed to take it all in stride, and he did well, but apparently I got nervous enough for him that I forgot start the video camera on time, and I failed to take any stills while was playing. Thankfully we shot his practice session at home.

After the recital we came back to our house with all four grandparents for that crock-pot dinner and some more piano, this time some good old fashioned Christmas carols. The art of caroling through the neighborhood seems to have perished, but carols around the spinet are another matter, at least in our house. We each have our favorites, be they traditional or more modern, and we have enough piano books around here, and piano players, to have every song covered, so we play and sing a lot and it was fun to share it with our families, too. Calvin did the playing tonight from his newest Christmas book.

Obviously we're music fans around here, and Christmas music is something that we collect—not just for the piano, but recorded music as well. Like with Christmas books, we buy each other a new album, or at least a new song or two, every year. We have sort of eclectic taste, and our collection ranges from big band swing to traditional classical, and some more modern pop collections. Some of our favorite albums from over the years (not in any order):

Lou Rawls's Merry Christmas Baby
Sufjan Stevens's Songs for Christmas
the Singers and Songwriters Christmas album
Stevie Wonder's Someday at Christmas
James Taylor's At Christmas
Ray Charles's Spirit of Christmas
the Goodyear Presents Christmas Favorites album (a holiday collectible from the tire people back in the 90s)
the Kohl's Cares for Kids Ultimate Holiday Collection 2008 (Merry Christmas Baby, by Otis Redding!)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (of course)

And O Holy Night as performed on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip by Trombone Shorty and a group of musicians from New Orleans just getting back on their feet after hurricane Katrina—one of our all-time favorite finds. It's a stunning and emotional arrangement worth hearing, although I'm not sure it's still available or download anywhere.

Plus we're always open to new suggestions if anyone has any...we're still looking for this year's awesome, eclectic album to add to our collection.

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