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Enjoying the gift of music

I adore music of all kinds and one of the most enjoyable playgrounds for all things music can be found on YouTube. Go online and visit www.youtube.com to discover the fun. I’m especially appreciative of friends with time. They are the ones who discover amazing performances on YouTube and post their discoveries on their Facebook pages for us to celebrate along with them.

Weeks ago I was gifted with the music of Perpetuum Jazzile, a choir that takes Toto’s 70’s hit “Africa” to amazing heights with their voices -- and their hands. Days ago I flipped on the TV to see who would be featured during Oprah Winrey’s Holiday Music Extravaganza and watched as she introduced Andrea Bocelli and Mary J. Blige. Under the direction of music legend David Foster, they sang “What Child Is This?” and I realized I was hearing what has become, for me, THE song of Christmas 2009. The very same hair raising, tear producing performance can be seen on YouTube if you missed it and I encourage you to gift yourself with their remarkable voices.

It’s utter joy to well up inside with the beauty of such sound.

Which brings me to a group that calls themselves, Straight No Chaser. Their rendition of “The 12 Days of Christmas” is creative and charming and got me to thinking about this perennial favorite of mine. I’ve been singing it most of my life and have great memories working through the song with friends when I was growing up, and years later with my own children.

“The 12 Days of Christmas,” contrary to popular belief, is not simply the title of a cute song. It refers to 12 specific days, from Christmas Day until the beginning of Epiphany (right around January 6), when Christians celebrate the time the Wise Men or kings arrived to present gifts to the young Jesus. In Hispanic and Latin American countries, January 6 is widely known as Three Kings Day, the last day of the Christmas season. Tradition states that on the Eve of the Epiphany children must collect hay, straw or grass and place it in a box under their beds. This gesture is a gift of food for the three kings’ horses while they rest in between deliveries. If a child has been good for the past year, he will receive candies, sweets or toys. If the child has misbehaved, he will find a lump of dirt or charcoal in his box. This tradition is much older than that of Santa visiting on

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