“The shepherds returned.”

[I’m going to try and make a new blog entry every Saturday  for the next twelve months.  But don’t hold your breath – I may not get much past January…]

After all the activity and excitement leading up to Christmas, the days ahead can prove something of an anticlimax and even lead to a degree of despondency.  The joyful carol singing is over, we’ve probably eaten too much, we have so much to sort out for the new year, including – for procrastinators like me – the dreaded annual tax return.  And there are so many uncertainties in the world around us that it is hard to look forward to the new year with unbridled optimism.

I wrote last week about being a ‘hobby composer’, and for me there is quite a build-up of energy in the days leading up to Advent and Christmas, as this is the time when most of my music gets performed – and I’m lucky enough to be invited along to hear some of these performances. Of course the deadlines for writing these pieces and completing orchestrations, etc. lie somewhat earlier – indeed it’s not unknown for me to be working on a Christmas piece in the middle of the summer holidays!  It would therefore be easy to allow the momentum of composing and arranging music to come to a halt in the post-Christmas period.

My father, who was an officer (or minister) in the Salvation Army, had a sermon based on Luke 2:20, which he liked to use on the Sunday after Christmas – “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” The main point that he drew from this verse was the need to return to the normality of the workplace, following the wonder experienced at Christ’s nativity.

I can’t really complain about my Christmas.  OK, Classic FM didn’t broadcast anything of mine this year, and I didn’t even get a piece in the CBSO Christmas concerts.  However, I did have some lovely trips to Berlin and Norway, as well a couple of local performances here in Birmingham and one in London’s Barbican – I have a lot to be grateful for.  Maybe I need to expend a little more of my energies on non-Christmas pieces.  I’m always open to suggestions.  Anyone want to commission a piece?