Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Letter 2010

Merry Christmas everyone! Well...I guess it's Boxing Day now, but it's the thought that counts. We were unable to send our newsletter or a family picture via mail this year, so here is the document. You might also see it in your email or on Facebook...we're trying all options in an attempt to reach all of our wonderful friends and family. Our Christmas season was very enjoyable and we hope you also had a Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Family Picture (Singular)

Family pictures were a little different this year. Instead of several good shots, we have just one. Yep, one shot. And you won't be getting a wallet or 3x5 or anything else because we only have one single print this year. I suppose it's for the best - our family portrait is no longer complete with just the four of us.

And of course I had to do the obligatory photo mosaic! There are now 15,290 pictures from our marriage to select from and 10,000 tiles in the mosaic. I don't think it turned out quite as well as last year's, but good nonetheless.

In case you noticed...this is also the first picture I've released after my weight loss. I'm down 32 pounds in the family picture and now I'm down 37 lbs.!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Alfred Burt Carols

Every Christmas season I'm amazed at how few people have ever heard of the Alfred Burt carols. Some of my favorite carols were written by him, and I've got to share some of them with you lovely people.

Alfred Burt (pictured above) had the perfect background for a Christmas carol composer: son of a pastor, and a trained jazz musician. Having a deep love of the Savior and a knowledge of when to use a C711 chord, he composed 15 beautiful carols as Christmas cards for family and friends every year from 1942 to 1954.

Sadly, he died at age 33 from cancer after finishing his Magnum opus (and my favorite Alfred Burt carol) "The Star Carol" just 24 hours before his death. Listen to this version by Simon and Garfunkel and remember that it is literally the last words of a talented and faithful young man...

Cynthia and I perform this version in church every couple of years. It's just too beautiful for words. Chokes me up often.


John Williams (please tell me you've heard of him) did two medleys of Alfred Burt carols during his tenure with the Boston Pops. Below is one of them. At the six minute mark is another one of my favorites, "Caroling, Caroling", which sounds as much fun as caroling should be.


The last one I'd like to share is "Some Children See Him".  James Taylor sang a well-known version of it a couple years ago which I think is bloated, self-indulgent, and loses the simplistic beauty of the original. I prefer a simpler arrangement, like the one below by Perry Como. (It's also in the medley above at 7:30)