Good morning campbellsworld visitors!
I hope you’re having an awesome week.
This morning as I was reading through guest blog post submissions, I came across the following piece.
In, Christmas Music Driving Romance, Author Peter Altschul shares with us a peek inside not only one of his talentedly written books, but into what is obviously a very intament look at a special Christmas memory.
As I read, I was moved to think about holiday music, as well as, the feelings, and memories they inspired, current, and from days gone-by, and for the first time this season felt the true, holiday Spirit
I now, share this with you, in hopes it blesses your day as it has blessed mine.
Peter Altschul, MS
Christmas Music Driving Romance
December 15, 2012
In Part IV of my memoir “Breaking Barriers: Working and Loving While Blind,” I described how I moved from an urban bachelor lifestyle in Washington, DC, to a married-man-with-three-stepkids life in Columbia, Missouri. On a late Sunday morning in mid-December, 2005, I told my soon-to-be-wife, Lisa, about my involvement with Christmas music as we sat together on a threadbare couch in my DC studio apartment. To quote from the book:
“And every year since 1984, I have written three funky four-part vocal arrangements of Christmas carols. I recorded them using a four-track cassette recorder, mixed them onto cassettes, and used them as Christmas cards.”
“What a great idea!” Lisa said.
“And then a couple of years ago, a friend installed MIDI software on my computer and my Christmas carol arrangements featured instrumental sounds generated from a keyboard synthesizer I had recently bought.
“And then last year I got the idea of composing new melodies for carol texts instead of just arranging the more familiar tunes.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know the carol `We Three Kings of Orient Are?`” I sang a couple of phrases of the solemn, melancholy waltz. Lisa hummed along. “I created a different melody that’s more bouncy and joyful. Do you want to hear it?” She squeezed my hand, so I clicked on the carol and rejoined her on the couch as six voices and a synthesized harp filled the apartment.
“That was awesome!” she said when the tune ended. “Who sang the vocals?”
I explained that I would sing the melody on one track and then record the other parts while listening to the melody. “Would you like to hear more?” I asked.
During the next twenty minutes, I played some of my arrangements: “How Brightly Shines the Morning Star” for brass and timpani; “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” for string quartet; “Jingle Bell Rock” arranged in the style of a Tchaikovsky waltz; “Holly Jolly Christmas” for brass band; “White Christmas” with a reggae feel; “Lo How a Rose E’er Blooming” for brass quintet; “Frosty the Snowman” arranged as a late 1950’s rock tune; “Good King Wenceslas” for percussion ensemble; “Oh Christmas Tree” for marching band; and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for steel drum band. Sudden silence fell as the last note died away.
“Are you all right?” I asked, sitting down and putting my arm around her.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Lisa half-whispered, putting her arm around me. “You’re amazing.”
As we sat silently on my threadbare couch with our arms around each other, I felt wrapped in waves of peaceful joy. I couldn’t believe that such a talented, caring woman would not just admire my accomplishments but love me for who I was and who I might become. For the first time, I really thought about what it might be like to move from a settled, secure space to unfamiliar surroundings where I would be responsible for supporting three kids who I hadn’t even met. Could I do it? Should I do it? All I knew was that she had given me the chance to explore love’s wonderful possibilities, and I wanted to continue the journey.
Since then, I have composed new melodies for around a dozen carol lyrics, four of which have been performed at the Missouri United Methodist Church in Columbia. A selection of these settings, as well as several arrangements of Christmas carols and music I composed for our wedding, is available at
under the link “Book-Related Information.” Please be patient, as it takes a while for the music to start playing.
I hope you can find some time to enjoy this music, and that it moves you to reflect upon these old carols in new ways.
Books, by Peter Altschul…
Breaking Barriers: Working and Loving While Blind available at: http://www.peteraltschul.com
By Peter Altschul, MS
For some unknown reason, Peter Altschul was born totally blind. He grew up in a working-class town where, with the help of his persistent mother, he broke through barrier after barrier, determined to live a full life.
This memoir reveals one man’s journey through blindness as he teams with his five guide dogs to overcome personal challenges and eventually discovers love, success, and happiness.
Breaking It Down and Connecting the Dots: Creating Common Ground Where Contention Rules
When Chicken Soup for the Soul and political insanity merge.
In this book of compact essays, Peter Altschul, MS, explores topics ranging from psychology, sports, and diversity to family life, politics, and Christianity. Peruse this book, and you’ll find personal stories, political analysis, and satire. You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; you’ll think. You might find connections you’ve never seen before and common ground where you think none is possible. And perhaps you’ll be influenced to behave a little differently in order to make things a little – or a lot – better.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR…
Peter Altschul’s journey has been kaleidoscopic. Ivy league graduate. Customer service rep at the most hated federal government agency. Grants manager. Trainer of New York City taxi drivers. Mediator between pro-life and pro-choice activists. Workplace diversity and conflict management specialist. Author, editor, musician, husband, and stepdad. All with the assistance of six wonderfully quirky guide dogs.
Campbell and I would like to thank you for stopping in, and hope you’ll come back real soon.
Until next time, this is Patty, who was moved to thoughtful tears by this peace, and King Campbell A.K.A Bubba who snoozed through the whole thing saying…
Merry Christmas! Happy Solstice!
May harmony find you, and blessid be.