January 6th, 2011

Not the one with Eddie Fisher on it, though

Every Christmas, I open the piano bench during the decorating process and take out the Christmas sheet music. Like the piano, it belonged to my mom. Sometimes I try to play the easier pieces, but mostly what I like is the pictures on the covers.

My mom’s piano teacher, back in 1953, gave my mom star stickers for successful renditions. The snowscape with ice skaters on the cover of “Winter Wonderland” is enhanced by a foil star at the tip of each evergreen tree. I know it was 1953 because it is noted right there on the cover of “Frosty the Snowman” (also garnished with stars) near where my grandmother wrote my mom’s name in her excessively careful handwriting. (My grandmother was a leftie, but was forced to write right-handed. Since she had to go to all that trouble, she acquired beautiful penmanship.)

Given the age of the music, it is not surprising that some of the pages have started to come apart. I hesitate to fool around with the songs as a result. I even considered retiring the lot.

Copier to the rescue! As I’ve been making copies of all the music, I’ve been entertained by the prices—Rudolph went for $.40. The address of the St. Nicholas Music company in New York has no zip code. Even better, the arrangements note chords for guitar and have tablature and tuning information for ukelele. I can put all the business-like parts of the music into a binder, which frees me to frame some of the originals. The only hard part will be choosing which ones.

That is, until I start practicing the pieces. At that point, the rest of the family may decide this wasn’t such a brilliant idea.