Saturday, December 16, 2006

My most embarrassing Christmas moment...

...happened a few hours ago while I was driving to the gym. There was nothing good on the radio, so I ended up on one of the all-Christmas-music-all-the-time-stations. The second song that came on was "O Holy Night." Now, this song is one that, for reasons I've never really analyzed, I find deeply moving. When performed right, it often brings tears to my eyes. By "performed right," I mean it has to be sung big—"Faaaaaaaaall on your kneees" and "No-eeeeeeeeel"—but simply, without really changing the traditional arrangement. The performer mustn't try to gild the lily. Just sing it.

(I heard the most awful arrangement ever at church once. Apparently the piano player thought the song wasn't "poignant" enough, so she used an arrangement that featured, among other atrocities, three single, slowly-spaced high notes at the end of each verse. "Tink. Tink. Tink." I wanted to take an ax to her piano.) It shouldn't really be that hard to get the song right, but even Pavarotti (teh best singer evar!!!111) couldn't do it. His accent is too distracting: "O holy-a night-a, the stars-a were-a brightly-a shining-a." Blech.

Anyway, I was on my way to the gym, and "O Holy Night" came on. A female singer, and she really nailed it. Once again, the song brought tears to my eyes. So I thought, "Wow, that was really good. I wonder who that was." Well, the DJ came on, and he said who: Celine Dion. That's right. I was moved to tears by a Celine Dion song. Fortunately, I was alone in the car, so no one knows my shame.


  1. Tonight I took my son to a church to be honored for his 8-0 football season... There was a rock band there and they did this song... Only they added something depressing between every 4th line that sounded like the Cure...It was awful!! Ruined O Holy Night for me for a while... I will have to go check out Celine's version!

  2. That is pretty embarrassing. Good thing no one knows.

  3. D_K,
    I am troubled by the thought that someone may listen to Celine Dion because of something I wrote.

    I've been reasserting my quirky good taste by listening to Leon Redbone's "Christmas Island." It seems to be working.

  4. Delete this post. I will pretend that I never read it.

  5. I agree with your assessment of O Holy Night. It's either really good or really really bad. I grew up listening to a really really wonderful rendition by Johnny Mathis. Later, when I was an adult, I bought a Johnny Mathis CD just to hear him sing it. Except he didn't sing it right any more! It was as though he had "outgrown" singing it simply and needed to add flourishes in his old age or something...Phooey!

  6. I'm sorry you had to go through this confession.

  7. Sigh..... and I used to have such a high opinion of you.


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