A question Winnipeg Free Press writer Holly Harris asked musicians from our city in her article about the holidays was what music was special to them during the festive season.
Winnipeg music performer Steve Bell said the Christmas song that was the most meaningful to him was In the Bleak Midwinter based on a poem by Christina Rosetti and set to music by Gustav Holst.
Élise Lavallée the principal violist, for the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra said one of her favourites was River written by Joni Mitchell and sung by Sarah McLachlan.
The Christmas song Lo How a Rose is one our family sings every Christmas. Some of you might know the story of how that hymn saved our family’s life. We were living in Hong Kong in 2004 and our children had come to visit us. We had a hotel in Phuket Thailand booked for a family holiday. We were going to fly out on Christmas Eve and had a snorkelling trip arranged for the 26th.
Then John Lemond the pastor of Tao Fong Shan, our church in Hong Kong asked if our family might sing at the Christmas Eve service. We had been to this service before and knew it was a special evening with attendees from fifteen or more countries sharing their Christmas traditions. We thought our children would enjoy it. So we changed our trip plans and left on Christmas Day. We rebooked our snorkelling excursion for the 27th.
We sang the hymn Lo How A Rose at that church service. We had sung it before as a family.
The tsunami hit on the 26th and we would have been snorkelling out on the ocean right then had we not changed our plans. Luckily our hotel was high on a hill and wasn’t impacted. Of course we never went snorkelling. Thanks to Lo How A Rose we were safe.
Yesterday I wrote about our family’s tradition of Christmas stockings. Before we open them we sing three or four Christmas carols. One is always Lo How a Rose.