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Posts Tagged ‘carols’

Christmas Eve Celebration at Home, 2017

Posted by glennled on December 31, 2017

IMG_7433

Homemade book of Christmas lyrics

Our family has an elaborate, celebratory Christmas Eve program. First, a bountiful dinner. Then, a spiritual program about the birth of Jesus Christ and his significance to us and the world. Next, a trumpet solo of a Christmas carol by me (this year, “O Come All Ye Faithful”), followed by a sing-along of more carols and songs, accompanied by my wife on the piano. After that, gift presentations and openings. Then, a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” followed by a “midnight” snack. Finally, we empty our stockings of their small “stuffer” gifts and decorate the gumdrop tree.

There is time for both solemnity and frivolity, mixed with love and gratitude. All this we did on Sunday, 24 December 2017.

Music belongs in any celebration. If you play and/or sing at any level, include it in your own celebrations of holidays and birthdays. Play your trumpet for your family. It’ll make them happy…you’ll see.

Hope you had as much joy and fun as we did!

To enlarge the photo, simply click on it.

Posted in Musical Events at Home | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Christmas Eve, 2015, Features Trumpet, Viola, and Piano

Posted by glennled on February 17, 2016

Christmas Day 2015My wife and I have 9 wonderful grandchildren. One in New Zealand plays the drums. One in Alaska plays the violin, and another there plays the saxophone. One in Bellingham, Washington plays the ukulele. And now, this year, one here in Edmonds is learning to play the viola. My wife plays the piano, and I play the trumpet.

We could have a family septet, but what composer ever wrote music for that combination of instruments and when/where would we ever get together? We need an arranger, and then maybe we could all assemble somewhere for Christmas someday and perform.

We’re traditionalists. Each year after our traditional Christmas Eve ham dinner, we then participate in a traditional program in the living room of our home, reading the prophecy of Isaiah about the coming of a Savior and the story of Jesus’ birth, praying, singing and playing Christmas carols and songs, and opening gifts. That’s when three of us did play this year for the family—trumpet, viola, and piano.

From “The Big Book of Christmas Songs,” I played “O Holy Night,” accompanied by my wife on piano, and soloed “Santa Baby,” showing off my new Getzen trumpet (see my post of 14 December). Our granddaughter played a few pieces on her viola—some solo and some with accompaniment—from the instruction book, “Essential Elements for Strings, Book 1” by Robert Gillespie, Pamela Tellejohn Hayes, and Michael Allen. And while my wife played the piano, all six of us sang from her own beautiful songbook, “Christmas Songs and Carols for a Season of Happiness.” The songbook contains the lyrics to 39 pieces, and she plays the music by memory!

Next year, perhaps we’ll all three play together as a trio. Perhaps someone else will then join us, and we’ll work our way up towards becoming a family septet. Or maybe the other two grandchildren will choose their own favorite instruments and take some lessons so we can become a nonet.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

 

Posted in Musical Events at Home | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

“Mele Kalikimaka” Honors Lost Family Matriarch on Christmas Eve at Home

Posted by glennled on January 12, 2013

Glenn Ledbetter plays "Mele Kalikimaka" on his Super Olds Cornet (1954)

Glenn Ledbetter plays “Mele Kalikimaka” on his Super Olds Cornet (1954)

Our family tradition on Christmas Eve includes singing Christmas carols after dinner and before opening gifts. My wife plays piano as we sing, and a few years ago, we added a couple of trumpet solos to the program. This year, I played “Mele Kalikimaka” because on all our minds was the recent loss of my wife’s mother, Ruth, who died peacefully on 12 October. This was our first Christmas without her.

To Ruth, Hawaii was paradise. She and her husband, Mac, first went to Waikiki to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. They always returned annually until he passed away, and then she continued to go back. In all, she vacationed there for 39 straight years! She was a bright spirit, and we miss her so much.

“Mele Kalikimaka” means “Merry Christmas,” and Robert Alex Anderson wrote the song in 1949. Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters recorded the song in 1950 on Decca 27228 (78 rpm)/9-27228 (45 rmp). To hear their recording, please see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJhYrC8Rq8w.

For my second trumpet solo, I played “Angels We Have Heard on High,” a traditional French carol.

Posted in Musical Events at Home | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Cornet Solos at Home with the Family on Christmas Eve

Posted by glennled on December 31, 2011

Glenn Ledbetter on cornet

After a wonderful, hearty dinner on Christmas Eve, we carried on our traditional family program: readings from Isaiah and Luke about the birth of the Christ child, prayers, carols, gift opening, and snacks. Meanwhile, about four cameras were continuously flashing and whirring. For music, my wife passed out our colorful booklet of carols (which she produced herself) and played the piano while we sang. Normally, I play one or two tunes on my cornet, too, always with her accompaniment. This year, I soloed. I played “Angels We Have Heard on High” straight as written, but to “Santa Baby,” I added a little fun with some special sound effects using my Harmon (wah-wah) mute in the middle of the piece and a long, quick glissando from G to an accented High G at the end! (Smiles and applause!)

Happy New Year!  😉

Posted in Musical Events at Home | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

“A Baby Changes Everything” as Christmas Nears

Posted by glennled on December 18, 2011

Today, I got to play 2nd trumpet in the church orchestra that I like so much. At the 7:20 a.m. rehearsal before the first of three Sunday church services, the Worship Director called out the next song—“A Baby Changes Everything.” Quietly, the lead trumpeter quipped, “We don’t do baby changes,” and a French horn player added, “No more baby changes, never again!”

And then we rehearsed one of the loveliest songs ever written about the coming of the Christ child. The arrangement we played was by David T. Clydesdale and is available through Word Music (see http://www.wordmusic.com/item/080689886270). The concluding lines are “My whole life has turned around, I was lost but now I’m found. A baby changes everything, yeah, This baby changes everything.”

It was written and composed by Tim Nichols, Kim Wiseman, and Craig Wiseman. Faith Hill made it a #1 hit in 2008. To see and hear her sing it, please see:

Think about this special baby—can you name any other man who has ever had a more profound, widespread, long-lasting impact on humanity and human history?

We also played several hymns and Christmas carols. The jazz arrangement of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” by Tom Payne was especially good (see http://www.praisecharts.com/detail/arrangement/2132).

For my four other posts about playing in this church orchestra, simply click on Church Music at the beginning of the paragraph below this post.

Posted in Church Music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

And the Trumpet Shall Sound in the Church Orchestra

Posted by glennled on December 25, 2010

This past Sunday was different from any other in my long life. I’ve played in marching bands, drum and bugle corps, concert bands, orchestras, ensembles, operas, and musicals. As a teen, I led congregational singing, but until 19 December 2010, I had never played trumpet in a church orchestra.

Archangel Gabriel Wall Relief, Church of San Michele, Florence, Italy, 1359 A.D.

My wife and I have heard and joined in congregational singing with this orchestra at a local community church several times this year. It is the best of its kind that I’ve ever heard in the Greater Seattle Area. The compositions and arrangements are sophisticated and even challenging at times.

One Sunday in the church bulletin, there was an offer to consider new members in the orchestra. I auditioned and was accepted as a substitute trumpeter. There are three regular trumpeters and several subs like me. The lead trumpeter has been there well over 20 years and plays at least a dozen instruments. Another regular also has been there more than 20, and the other more than 15.   

The day I played, there were about 18 musicians in the orchestra; sometimes there are as many as 25-30. The choir numbered about 50. On this occasion, we were not playing “And the Trumpet Shall Sound” from Handel’s Messiah. Instead, this was the music:

  • “Festival of Carols” (a medley of four)
  • “Angels We Have Heard on High”
  • “The First Noel,”
  • “Come, Emmanuel,”
  • “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.”

Bass Performance Hall, Ft. Worth, TX, by Tony Gutierriz/AP, 14 June 2002

I had not known that “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” was written as a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow after he had lost two wives and one of his sons had been severely wounded in the Civil War. He wrote the words on 25 December 1864. About four months later, the Civil War ended and peaced reigned over the land once more. Later, the poem was modified and became a carol. Its last two stanzas read as follows:

“And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’

“Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
‘God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!'”

Can you worship with a horn? Until last Sunday I was not sure—maybe concentrating on playing the music correctly would displace worship. No, to my pleasant surprise, it did not. It was a moving experience. You can worship with your horn just as surely as you do with your voice in song. And it’s especially poignant when you’re accompanying an excellent church choir like this one.  Volunteer and try it someday—you’ll like it.

Posted in Church Music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Perfect Christmas Gift: A CD of Christmas Music Featuring the Trumpet

Posted by glennled on December 9, 2010

So you like the trumpet and you like Christmas, right? Then put ’em together and either (1) give a CD to someone for Christmas or (2) add a CD to your own Christmas-gift wish list so that someone can give it you. Not just a CD of beautiful Christmas music—make it a CD that features great trumpeters playing great Christmas music!

Through the internet, I’ve conducted an informal poll, asking other trumpeters from around the world to name their favorite Christmas CDs featuring the trumpet. Here are the results (not in priority or genre order):

  • Canadian Brass, “A Very Merry Christmas CD” (2010)
  • Canadian Brass, “Christmas Tradition” (2007)
  • Canadian Brass, “A Christmas Experiment” (2007)
  • Canadian Brass, “Noel” (1994)
  • Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass, “Christmas Album” (2005)

    Herb Alpert's "Christmas Album" cover

  • Tine Thing Helseth, “My Heart is Ever Present” (2009)
  • Rick Braun, “Christmas Present” (1994)
  • Chris Botti, “December” (2006)
  • Doc Severinsen, “Christmas with Friends” (1991)
  • Doc Severinsen, “Merry Christmas from Doc Severinsen” (2000)
  • Phil Driscoll, “Heaven and Nature Swing” (2000)
  • Boston Brass, “The Stan Kenton Christmas Carols” (2005)
  • Wynton Marsalis, “Christmas Jazz Jam” (2009)
  • Playboy’s “Latin Jazz Christmas: A Not So Silent Night,” featuring Arturo Sandoval (2001)
  • Al Hirt, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” (2000)
  • Harry Connick, Jr., “When My Heart Finds Christmas,” featuring Roger Ingram (1993)
  • Philadelphia Brass, “Festival of Carols in Brass” (1991)
  • Philadelphia Brass, “Christmas in the Grand Tradition” (2010)
  • The Airmen of Note, “Cool Yule” (2009)
  • The Airmen of Note, “A Holiday Note from Home” (2005)
  • Tom Kubix Big Band, “A Jazz Musicians Christmas” (2002)
  • James Morrison, “Christmas” (2000)

If you have a favorite not listed here, please click on “Leave a Comment” below this post, give me the artist and title, and I’ll add it to the above list.

If you want to learn more about these favorites and even listen to excerpts from some of them, simply copy the bulleted item, paste it into a search engine box, and hit “search.” You’ll find lots of results that link you to websites featuring that item in some way.

And I wish you and yours a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, with God’s many blessings!

Posted in Selected Trumpet Music | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Christmas Eve Concert–Cornet and Piano Duet

Posted by glennled on December 30, 2009

"O Holy Night"

The Christmas Eve tradition in our family, hosted in our home, goes like this. All family members who are in town come over for dinner. (We have two grown sons, a daughter and three grandkids in southern California, Las Vegas, and New Zealand.) This year we were 10 locals (including four grandchildren) around our dining room table. After dinner, we sing Christmas carols. My wife is a piano instructor. While she plays, everyone sings the lyrics from the songbook she created a few years ago, especially for this annual occasion. Once, one of our local grandsons played the clarinet for us. This year it was my turn to solo at the family concert. I played “O Holy Night,” accompanied by my wife. Our daughter videoed our duet. I encouraged all my students to play something for their families during their own holiday festivities.

After Bible readings from Luke and Isaiah about Jesus Christ, the Messiah, and prayer, we do what the kids have been patiently waiting for: open presents! Finally, there is an evening snack, and they all go home, stomachs full, arms and hands laden with prize gifts, faces beaming, and eyes sparkling. Santa Claus is coming tonight!

My cornet is a “Super Olds” model with the nickel-silver rimmed bell, made by F.E. Olds & Son in Los Angeles. Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Louis Prima, and Raphael Mendez are among those who played various Olds instruments. Olds started making trombones in about 1910, and later added other brass instruments, introducing the Super Olds line in 1932. My cornet ranked in the mid-range of the various Olds models of its time. Today, the equivalent horn probably costs about $1,700. Mine cost my parents $250, and I was so proud! Why did I choose a cornet? Simple: our high school band director specified that we all play cornets, not trumpets. He preferred the cornet’s more mellow tone and wanted a cornet section, not a trumpet section, in his band.

My Super Olds has been around. I played it all through high school and college. It took me to All-State Band in Texas and on music scholarship to Abilene Christian College and the University of Washington. It went to the Rose Bowl when we marched in the Rose Bowl Parade and gave a half-time performance during the football game: UW Huskies beat U of Minnesota Gophers, 17-7. Now I play it in the Husky Alumni Band.

I’ve played my Super Olds in concert, jazz, dance, and pep bands, in orchestras for operas and musicals, and in a U.S. Navy bugle corps. It’s traveled from Texas to Washington to Rhode Island. And now I’ve played it in a duet with my lovely wife in our own warm living room for our own special family. Yes, my horn looks a little worn, but it plays as well as ever. I like that.

Posted in Musical Events at Home | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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