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Friday, February 5, 2016



     Last Sunday I donned my gayest apparel and went over to the Somers Library for a holiday concert and sing-along. The Joey D. Jazz Ensemble was in fine form, offering an eclectic mix of modern and classic seasonal songs. From what I understood, the combo consists of former music teachers from the Somers school system, their children, and possibly other family members who did not behave.

      My advice to all children is to do everything your music teacher tells you. They hold much more power than your guidance counselor, the police, your parents and any other teacher, with the exception of your science teacher, who has the ability to possibly blow you up using a Bunsen burner.

     Your music teacher has the potential to make you look REALLY bad whenever he or she wants to. You can trust me on this; I cut music class a few times in middle school and the next year I was wearing a Sousaphone. If you don't know what a Sousaphone is, it's big, white, wraps around you like a Burmese python, and looks like something you should be able to distill 150-proof liquor with.

     Anyway, Sunday's little get-together was sponsored by the Friends of the Library, which runs many nice community events. I am a friend of the library myself, and does the library ever call me just to say Hi? That phone call is long overdue, if you'll pardon the expression.

     Any sing-along that I sing along to involves me crooning in questionable harmony until I stumble across a note that's too high for me, and then I switch to a different questionable harmony. But I make up for it with an overabundance of zeal, so that it sounds like a cat that got stuck in a bathtub while singing questionable harmonies. I think you might describe my voice as flattering. For instance, if a song is in A-flat, I can make the A much flatter.

     The library passed out lyric sheets, which was very helpful. They went to all that trouble, printed all the words on each page, center-justified, noted where each verse and chorus, xeroxed all the copies. And what did they deck the halls with? "Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. And what did the Herald Angels sing? "Hark." The Little Drummer Boy? "Pa-rum-pa-pum-pum." I think we can do better as a society.

     I often see choirs where the singers are instructed to smile incessantly as they are singing, which I find vaguely creepy. They are singing their hearts out, beaming like they just won the lottery, and meanwhile the Little Lord Jesus is laying there in a manger, no crib for a bed. Sheep and cows and hay all over the place, it's a hell-hole, frankly. Can you catch mange from a manger? All I'm saying is, have a little decorum.

     What we did learn is that you can superimpose the melody and lyrics to Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree over just about every song. Try it to Jingle Bell Rock, Holly Jolly Christmas or Frosty the Snowman. By the way it doesn't work for Adele songs, I already tried.

     ps: Write me and tell me about the weirdest, best or worst Christmas or Hanukkah gift you ever received. I'll put it in next week's column and I promise not to embarrass anybody any worse than you probably already have.

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