Joshua Sutherland Allen

Joshua Sutherland Allen

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Why I Hate Working on Christmas Music

This is the season that I dread,
When autumn chills turn leafy forests red.
Visions of winter concerts fill my head,
And haunt my dreams at night in bed.

My choir sets serious scores and texts aside,
And turns to drab banalities of Christmastide.
The great majestic works in which we pride,
We put away and practice on “Sleigh Ride.”

The Tallis is already good to go,
The Bach will be within a week or so –
Music that helps my students learn and grow –
But now it’s time to work on “Let It Snow.” 

When I must hear or sing of silver bells,
I think that it must be my funeral knell,
And when kids’ voices with “White Christmas” swell,
I know that I am in musicians’ hell.

We could, of course, work only on the lays,
Chorales, and carols of the great feast day,
The works of Palestrina or Fauré:
These might my musical chagrin allay.

But then, the truth that I must now admit,
Is that my students like the Christmas hits –
The very ones that I think are base shit –
And though their attitude does not acquit

Vapidity of musicality,
I must remind myself that I can see
Their point – that silly as a song may be,
Value is not only in profundity.


  1. You are wise, Joshua. The kids love the songs for the memories of Christmases past and excitement of ones to come. I just watched a WONDERFUL movie you would probably enjoy, called Boy Choir - filmed in the Boy Choir school on the eastern seaboard. The music - boy soprano classical - is AMAZING, the story is good, and it ends well - a troubled teen is given a second chance for a better life. I am sure you would enjoy it. I watched it twice. The lead singer has an astonishing voice.

  2. Excellent point... well made!

  3. Ha.. I think I agree... some of those christmas songs have been ground down to banal shit... Actually some of the Carols are really worn down as well... :-)

  4. Well...I feel for you...but think about famous symphonies with folk song in creative - compose the variations....smiles