12 I like to offer you a song to sing every day during Advent, sort of a virtual Advent calendar of music. Mostly I like to give you Christmas songs that might be new to you, since it is intended to be an antidote to having heard “The Little Drummer Boy” so many times you’re ready to spit. Today, however, I offer you one that you may already know, “Bring a Torch, Jeannette Isabella.” Here it is in French, though rather too slow for what was, when it was collected in 1553, a dance tune. Most of the old French carols were dances, and are very nice sung at a bouncy pace. At this site, though, you can hear a clip of it being played slowly on strings, and it is quite pretty.

While I think of this as a well-known song, I haven’t sung it yet this season, nor heard it on the radio, or anything, and it is a good one for this happy time of year when we have done everything we have to do to prepare for 12 Christmas and are just waiting eagerly for the festivities to begin. It is good to sing all by yourself, if you are by yourself today, and also lends itself to pretty harmonies. You can play it on your tin whistle or your violin, if you have them handy.

We had a pretty good rehearsal last night, in spite of some tuning problems (and was it the flautist or was it just that the piano was out of tune?) and confusion over the whole Advent vs. Christmas music question. “Jeannette Isabella” is Christmas, but for me we are in the part of the year where you really can sing both for a few days. We discovered that our organist can sing very well, so of course I immediately began plotting to get him to sing in quartets and things. I am like that. I have agreed to join, or rather 12 to form, the ministry team for music next year, so my frequently-quashed desire to arrange stuff will have an outlet. In our church choir, it is customary for people to stand where they like and sing what they like, and I am always wanting to balance things, or to encourage the second sopranos to sing soprano when there is no division, or have the second altos join the tenors when they have an exposed high note, or something. I bite my tongue, I promise you, but I am like a herding dog with no sheep. You know how they have to visibly restrain themselves from herding the people in the room? I am like that.

The cookies are from yesterday’s baking (feathered bells, Christmas trees, and Scottie dogs with coconut fur). Also, yesterday, I solved all my lingering customer service issues and went to the abs class at the gym. Apart from the frequent cries of “I’m trying to work!” with which I responded to the innumerable interruptions (most of the family had the day off), I was very productive, and I am now feeling relaxed.

Nonetheless, I must rush off, virtually speaking, and do some work.