Showing posts from December, 2014

The Best Christmas Music Out There

If all the Christmas music you listen to is from your local radio station, then you have been missing out on some of the best Christmas music that is out there! Honestly, you can only hear "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" so many times before your head explodes. Here's a guide to some of my favorite Christmas albums: Mannheim Steamroller Christmas This was the first - and arguably the best - Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album, and there's not much on it that I don't like. The first track, "Deck the Halls" can be heard everywhere, but "Good King Wenceslas" is a joyful track that gets toes tapping, and this version of "Silent Night" is the best one not sung inside a church. Did you know that this album is now 30 years old? Pentatonix That's Christmas to Me and PTXmas That's Christmas to Me  is brand-new this year, and I love listening to it. My students love it, too - especially songs like "Santa Cla

A Fine Day to Ski

Last Saturday I decided to take a trip into the mountains and go skiing in Breckenridge - a ski location that I am familiar with thanks to my trips there last season. My goal for this one-day adventure was to see if I remembered anything from my lessons eight months ago, and also find out if I could go on my own. My cousins weren't planning on coming to Breckenridge till the following weekend, and I had a free morning with good weather. I had spent the week researching good places to park, the best slopes to try, and how long it would take to get there. Thanks to my advanced planning, my day went off without a hitch! Breckenridge's parking lots are $12 on the weekends, but they have a free satellite lot outside of town and free shuttle service to the free gondola that will take you up to the base of Peak 8. There's a lot of "free" in that sentence, so I had to take advantage of that. I woke up at 5 a.m. and was on the road by 5:45. There hadn't been

How to Leave the Stress Behind

I didn't have a good day today. It wasn't like anything serious took place. It was just very stressful. Lots going on. It seemed like not much went the way I planned it. Some things I might not have handled as well as I could have. So how do I get rid of the stress? Some ways work for some and some ways work for others. Here are mine: Work out It might seem like that would be the last  think I want to do after a stressful day. But working out - whether it's taking a walk or doing a light routine - is a great remedy. I did a light workout today and felt much better. Computer time This may mean paying bills, downloading podcasts, syncing my iPod, or catching up on television. On stressful days I love it when there's big entertainment news, like Star Wars  names being revealed, because that means there's lots of reactions and lots of ways to get my mind off of stress. Cat cuddles It's no surprise that cats help with stress. It is really amazing ho

Peter Pan Live: A Review

There were so many times tonight when I was watching Peter Pan Live  on NBC that I was suddenly transported back to my living room in Michigan watching a VHS copy of Peter Pan with Mary Martin. And when I was reminded of those times, I reluctantly decided that the old version was better. Yes, the NBC version had some improvements. The scenery was amazing - especially the complete nursery set. Having Nana actually be a real dog was great - he did an amazing job! (Too bad they couldn't've had a trained crocodile, too.) The dancing was amazing pretty much the whole way through. The kid who played Michael was having a ball hanging out with those Lost Boys - even though he had to wear footie pajamas. My cast MVPs are all the pirates, Lost Boys, and Indians, for sure. But there were a few clunkers. The choice to use a computer animated Tinkerbell was a bad idea. The animation looked like old '90s CGI rather than an innovative prop. Is it so hard to use a light? Allison

The Christmas Music Zone

It's now December, which means it's safe to listen to Christmas music everywhere you go and not get the stink eye. I know that many of you have your favorites, but there's always room for more fantastic Christmas music in your repertoire - especially if you don't want to hear "Blue Christmas" for the tenth time today. "Deck the Halls" Mannheim Steamroller When I start listening to Christmas music, this selection from Mannheim Steamroller's  Christmas  album is usually one of the first things I queue up. The reason I love it : It reminds me of decorating the Christmas tree when I was a kid, as well as my siblings and I having pantomime concerts featuring this music. "Glory to God" Glad This is not a familiar Christmas carol. Instead, it's derived from the angels' words in Luke 2. The reason I love it : This is one that I as a musician love to dissect, and break down each part that is sung. I loved it so much, I act