Monday, December 27, 2010

The 12 Days of Christmas Blog

Happy day-after Boxing Day!

Yesterday morning, I attended church at St. John's Rockwood (near Guelph, Ontario) where my Dad is currently holding the position of Interim Rector.

He preached his awesome The 12 Days of Christmas Sermon, where he takes us through the traditional song and shows how each gift actually represents an aspect of the Christian faith and practice. Dad and I have done this sermon together a few times, with me singing each verse, Dad teaching about the gift, and then whole congregation singing the song together at the end. (Yesterday, the choir sang each verse.) It's so effective, and gives a whole new meaning to a song that many people consider just a secular ditty.

To expand on this, Dad is also blogging for the 12 Days of Christmas, starting December 25 and going until January 5. Each day, he explains the Christian meaning behind a verse of the song, and gives an action you can do to reinforce the lesson.

You can follow his blog here:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Combating Christmas Craziness

There were no carts in front of Costco today.

Usually, there are hundreds sitting in front of the store, waiting for customers, but today, they were all in use.

I took a deep breath and joined the stream of people entering the warehouse.

As I got close to the front door, the line of people was stopped by a screaming mother of two.

"You hit my ankle! Move your cart! You're hitting my ankle!"

The poor man behind her looked bewildered. Had his cart hit her ankle? Maybe. There were such throngs of shoppers, anyone's cart could have hit anything.

But this woman felt the need to stop everyone in their tracks and scream at this man and his shopping cart.

The tirade was stopped by a woman who said, "Wow, it's Christmas, you know."

As the line moved forward, I laughed and made a decision.

I am not, NOT going to complain about my blessings this Christmas!

Here's what I mean:

  • I refuse to get stressed about last minute shopping. Instead, I'm thankful that I can afford to buy groceries for our Christmas Eve dinner.
  • I refuse to get stressed about all the driving I have to do over the next few days. Instead, I'm thankful that my car is finally in great working order.
  • I refuse to get stressed about working wild hours and singing Jingle Bells a hundred times. Instead, I'm thankful that I can make a living singing Christmas carols with my husband to people who appreciate what we do.
  • I refuse to get stressed about having to balance visiting both sides of the family. Instead, I'm thankful that our families are healthy and living close enough that we can visit them easily.

So when I get that temptation to lean on my car horn, or push my cart in front of the woman who's taking forever to pick out a bag of potatoes, I'm taking a deep breath, saying a little prayer of thanks, and singing a Christmas carol to myself.... but not Jingle Bells!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Confessions of a Victorian Christmas Caroler

Two years ago, I wrote the following article for Since we're in the thick of the season, I thought I'd share it with you today. Enjoy!



Each December, I dress up in costume, smile pretty, and sing Christmas carols to perfect strangers.

Yes Virginia, I'm a Victorian Christmas Caroler.

You know exactly what I'm talking about. You've seen us in malls and seniors’ centers. Maybe we made an appearance at your office party, or your local craft fair. It all started innocently enough. In university, I needed some extra money for Christmas presents, and the opportunity was just
too sweet. All I had to do was wear a fancy dress, sing carols, and someone would pay me. How could I not accept that offer?

By the end of the first season, I was hooked. Within a few years, I had started my own quartet, and then my own company. I made costumes and assembled a book of my favorite carol arrangements. My friends loved me because I was now providing them with jobs for their extra Christmas money.

Victorian caroling has brought me some of the coolest, and silliest, Christmas memories ever.

One year, our alto decided she would send our brochure to the NBA Raptors office, just for fun. As the booking agent for the group, I almost fell off my chair when I received a phone call from the Raptors event coordinator! We were booked to sing their Christmas game. We walked into
the very large Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, gleefully dressed in our Victorian attire. We sang carols to fans as they entered the arena, and then, we walked out onto the court and sang the national anthems. We even got platinum level seats for the game! What a Christmas gift!

Then there was the office building that had a Christmas party in each of its 31 office areas. We were asked to travel to each area, sing a few carols, and move on to the next area. We would try to do a few fun songs, take a request, and then move on. Well, when you take requests at
Christmas, you probably know what's going to happen - 31 renditions of Jingle Bells!

But here's the reason why all the silliness, all the craziness, is worth it:

Last year, my husband, Gerald, and I were booked to carol in a seniors’ home for their Christmas party. After singing for the gathering, we offered to visit the rooms of any residents who were unable to leave their beds to attend the party. We wandered from room to room, singing a song
for anyone we met.

In one room, we found an elderly gentleman lying in bed. Standing with him were two women, who we assumed were his wife and daughter. They broke out in smiles as soon as they saw us. We asked if they had a favorite carol. “Do you know ‘Deck the Halls’?" Gerald and I found our notes, and started the joyful song. As soon as the song began, the little family moved closer
together. They held hands, and then, they started to cry. Silent tears fell throughout the entire song. Gerald and I took deeper breaths to hold back our own tears. After the last verse, they said, “Thank you." We said, "Merry Christmas" and "God bless," and then we left for the next room. In
the hall outside the room, we wiped tears from our eyes, held hands, and said silent prayers of thanks for our own health, and our own marriage.

I don't know what that family was experiencing, I don't know why they requested "Deck the Halls," and I don't know what they were thinking when we sang it. But I do know this - in that moment, they needed that song. And I praise God that He brought us to that little room on that night.

Sometimes it may be a fun job, sometimes it may be a weird job, but in all of it, I am reminded that these are not simply Christmas ditties. This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These songs tell the greatest story of the greatest birth ever. And I'm honored for the opportunity to sing that story again and again.

So this Christmas, when you see us in our funny costumes, singing our fourteenth rendition of "Jingle Bells," give us a smile and a nod, and sing along! The Christ is born, and we've got to sing it!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Concert Canceled!

We are sorry to announce that our St. Luke's Palermo concert for this Saturday, December 11 has been canceled.

We love singing at St. Luke's, so we'll let you know if the event is rescheduled.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

FREE Christmas Angels!

When we perform live in December, we offer lots of specials on our CDs, but since we have a new site this year, we wanted to offer an online special too.

For every CD purchased from this month, we'll include a free Christmas angel ornament!

These charming crocheted ornaments are perfect for hanging on the tree or tying on a Christmas present.

Please visit for more details.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Victory Churches

At a time when so many churches are facing threat of closure, it's interesting to visit a ministry whose mission is planting new churches.

Victory Churches started about 30 years ago in Alberta, and have now planted churches around the world, including 9 in the GTA.

Tonight, Gerald and I sang for their local pastors' dinner. A small group of pastors gathered in the church for an amazing dinner, followed by a short message, and our music. We offered a few of our favourite songs - Just a Closer Walk, Your Grace is Enough, My Heart is the Manger - and ended with an awesome sing-along, complete with audience harmony.

It was such a lovely and gentle kind of night, with good conversation and great inspiration.

St. Barnabas, Peterborough

Christmas has begun!

Last night, Infinitely More performed the first concert of the Christmas season, so our Christmas has now officially begun.

We sang at the wonderful church of St. Barnabas in Peterborough. Together with ROC, they do amazing outreach work, both locally and internationally.

They had requested a night of Gospel music, with a smattering of Christmas music, and I think we assembled a very eclectic and fun program. We mixed our originals with Praise & Worship and our own interpretations of classic hymns. We ended with a few classic Christmas songs, a boisterous sing-along, and Gerald's awesome Christmas song, "My Heart is the Manger."

A photographer was there from Snap Peterborough, so I'll post a link if the photos make it in next month.

Getting to and from Peterborough was a lot of driving on a Friday night, but it was more than worth it - an appreciative crowd, a fun night of music, and some of the best shortbread I've ever tasted. And we've been invited back for next Christmas!

Last night also marks the beginning of our 8-performances-in-5-days extravaganza. Or as I'm also calling it, "Sing, Eat, Sleep... Sing, Eat, Sleep... Sing, Eat, Sleep..."