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If you’ve read my last couple of posts, you know that these have been a difficult couple of months. I’ve made emotional progress: I no longer sob all the time. I actually made it through an entire day last week without crying at all. Go, me. Now we’re into the holidays, and it’s hard not to think of the friends I’ve lost. (Yes, more than one, but let’s not get into that right now. I’d like to put off sobbing again for at least another hour.) So, to stave off the sadness, I turn on my favorite Christmas songs.

Singing tops the list of my favorite distractions. It uses many different parts of the body. The lungs for breathing, the abdominal muscles for breath support, and occasionally the gluteus maximus for high notes. (“You always have more breath in your butt,” one of my voice teachers said.) It moves the muscles of your face and sends air vibrating through your sinus cavities, which can sometimes help you breathe more easily. It also uses the intellect. While your memory comes up with the words and the tune, your mind analyses the poetry and the rhythm to figure out where to sing loudly or softly, and some analytical portion of your brain is busy doing math to keep the beat and figure out what the intervals between notes should be. Maria had a master plan when she got the Von Trapp kids to sing during the thunder storm in The Sound of Music. It’s hard to do that many things at one time and still find the energy to cry.

As I pulled up all the Christmas music I’ve bought and made a playlist on my phone, I started thinking of which songs I’d use if I made a Christmas album. Then I took the next logical step and planned out which of the many singers I know that I’d invite to perform with me in my fantasy studio.

So here you have it – between now and Christmas, I will post some of my favorite holiday tunes as recorded by other people, and tell you who I’d choose to record them with.

I start this week with the one song out of the group that I actually have performed – a medley of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and We Three Kings, originally (and here for your listening pleasure on youtube) recorded by Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan.

I sang this song during a Christmas concert with my friend Paul Kwo. You might already know him, if you’ve seen the film God’s Not Dead. I got more or less suckered into singing with him in a praise band when he served as music director at my church, and ended up enjoying it so much that I stayed for the next couple of years until he finally decided his own music academy PopRock needed him full-time. I’m happy to say we and the other band members are still friends and catch up over dinner a couple of times a year. You can find out all about him at paulkwo.com. (Seriously, how can you not love someone who starts a fusion band called kwortet?)

Given all this history, I can’t imagine performing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings with anyone but Paul. Well, Paul, Jessica and Rhonda. We might as well get the band back together, right?

Kimberly would hang out with Paul even if he didn’t know all the best places to go for dim sum. Probably.

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