Sunday, December 20, 2009

O Holy Night by Beth Kephart

(I probably don't need to give an introduction to Beth Kephart on this blog, but she's a fantastic author and blogger, and wonderful friend to all who love books. I was honored she wrote this guest post about what happens to be my favorite Christmas song.)

I wanted to sing “O Holy Night” more than anything for the Christmas show. It seemed most hallowed, most lovely, most timeless—words I would not have known to use then, back in fourth grade; it was just this feeling I had.

And so, for weeks, I practiced the song—its high notes, its phrasing, the small hidden places inside which a breath might be stolen. In the bathroom I sang it, in my mother’s bedroom, on the path to school, on the bridge above the creek, in the white music room of the elementary school alongside the black piano, until finally the day came for the show.

I hadn’t counted on being so petrified. On having my throat close and my lungs run dry. I hadn’t counted on the bright white light that found me on that stage in that auditorium in a dress I don’t remember. I remember closing my eyes and praying that the words would find their own way. I remember the piano playing and the song coming and my eyes opening again, against that spotlight. It was round and white and refracted, a halo, I thought. A presence. So that now, every Christmas, “O Holy Night” is just that—the sound of something hallowed, and a halo.

8 comments:

Beth Kephart said...

Oh, I didn't know this was your favorite, Amy.

And Celine looks (and sounds) so gorgeous. It's something to appear with her (and you).

Infant Bibliophile said...

I thought the video would be a long lost home video of Beth singing. :) This is my mother's favorite, too. I love hearing my 2 year old say "ho-wee, ho-wee night!"

bermudaonion said...

Great guest post! O Holy Night is one of my favorite Christmas carols.

Heather J. said...

This is MY very favorite Christmas song as well. :)

Katy said...

So pretty! :) I love this song too.

Beth F said...

I too was thinking we'd see Beth singing! Since I can't carry a tune (truly, not at all), I'm impressed with anyone who'd agree to get on a stage with a microphone.

Beth Kephart said...

This is all very funny! There are no home videos of me (at all) and the rarest handful of photos. I think this is probably a good thing!

Kelly H-Y said...

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Your story is beautiful. It reminds me of an 8th grade performance of my own ... also at Christmas.

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