Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Joy! December 12, 2014

Before you speak to me about your religion,
first show it to me in how you treat other people.
~Cory Booker

Christmas Joy! Congratulations to Patrick and Nicole Haw Shepard of Bothell, Washington on the birth of their second child earlier today. At about 10 a.m. this morning Mason Michael Shepard was born in Kirkland Washington at 7 lbs. 6 oz. and 20 inches long. The birth went just fine with no complications and everyone in the family is relieved and in a celebrative mood.

Mason is the third grandchild born to my brother Darrell and his wife Mary Shepard in the last 17 months. I thought our 3 grandchildren, who arrived over a period of just 28 months, were born in rapid succession. But 17 months is breakneck speed in grandchildren years! Best wishes to Mason's whole family, including his Great Grandmother Maida Gower Shepard, who was there to welcome Mason as her 10th Great Grandchild.

This first picture shows Mason and was taken just a few hours ago, shortly after his birth.

More "Christmas Joy!" Stanley Guy of Dallas, Texas is a second cousin of mine, a few branches over on the family tree. We are both descended from Charles Davis (1848-1926) and Malinda Wright Davis (1847-1820). I have never met Stan in person, nor his husband David, but we have corresponded many times by email and on Facebook. Stan is an accomplished musician and, with four fellow harpists, has recently released a Christmas CD.

Being an afficianado of Christmas music, as well as interested in noteworthy accomplishments of family members, I obtained a copy of the CD. Titled "Christmas Joy" it says it is "beautiful Christmas classics performed by the Harp Essence quintet," of which Stan is a member.
This second picture is from the cover of the CD, and shows Stan on the far left with the other 4 members of the group.

Although I find myself interested in a wide variety of holiday tunes, my favorite Christmas music is contemporary, rousing, and religiously oriented. So I must admit that I was not expecting too much from a Christmas harp collection. But in truth, I found it to be a fine collection of 12 pieces of holiday music that range from "Angels We Have Heard on High" to "Greensleeves" to "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

My favorite piece on the CD is the traditional English folk tune "Greensleeves." That particular melody seems to work very well when interpreted by the strings of the harp. In this collection it is beautifully done, carrying with it all the peace and beauty of Jesus' birth story. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed their interpretation of the french Christmas carol "O Holy Night." That is such a big song I could not imagine harps giving it nearly enough power and dynamic contrast to do it justice. Yet Harp Essence accomplished something special, and with a unique flair was able to make this piece about the night of Jesus' arrival an emotional and satisfying experience.

I found "Christmas Joy" to be just that, a joyful holiday celebration worth listening to, and have gladly added it to my Christmas collection. Kudos to cousin Stan and the Harp Essence Quintet for a job well done.

Stan says, "I'm just proud to be sharing the Davis musical heritage. Music has given me a great deal of joy all my life and I think music lessons were the greatest material gift my parents gave me... People can get information on ordering "Christmas Joy!" from the CD page at our website"
- - -
Steve Shepard

No comments: