This Christmas is quite different from every other Christmas I’ve had as an adult. For the first time I’m not involved in any music making whatsoever.
For 25 years I was a professional oboist and played more Christmas concerts in various concert halls and churches than I can remember. I know The Messiah by Handel backwards and, although I’ve never seen the Nutcracker, I’ve heard the feet of hundreds of dancers on the floor above me as I sat in the pit playing Tschaikowsky’s beautiful music year after year.
Of course, when I was a teacher, I planned, rehearsed and gave Christmas concerts at school. It was always my favourite time of year. Once school began, I’d already be thinking about what we would sing and play, what songs would suit the particular skills of the students that year. I loved the excitement of introducing then new music, sharing the traditional pieces and discovering the new ones together. Most of all I loved the feeling when the parents, teachers and students all came together.
I’m sad and I miss it. It’s too quiet.