On Saturday night I went to a neighbor's party. Of the family members, only I and eleven-year-old Patrick were well enough to attend. He managed very well among neighbors and stangers a foot taller and several decades older than he. It was a sumptuous spread in a beautiful new house. I took the lad home after a while and returned with two tin whistles in my pocket. I had heard that there would be music after all the chit-chat. Turns out the host and at least two of his friends who were there have been playing together for years. This night there were guitars and an electric bass. They began by taking requests for Christmas songs from other guests. I gauged the informality of the proceedings and decided I could join in. I started tootling along on "The First Noel" and such. Pretty soon I was doing more singing than whistling, carrying the melody while others worked out the chords and embellishments. I had had just enough to drink that I felt confident but not sloppy. The performers were sitting in an arc, leaning in towards each other, but I turned outward and sang towards the other guests. There weren't more than a few people listening. Most of the party-goers just kept talking over the music. I sang well, I thought, and the instrumentalists were quick to pick up the songs.
The next day - Sunday afternoon - there was a family-oriented program at the church. It was a singalong of holiday songs with some extra activities and a story. I and two others met early to rehearse recorder accompaniment for some of the songs. We were unamplified, and therefore inaudible in all probability over the singing, but the boy who played trumpet had a nice, clear tone and showed everyone the way on the melody. I had brought the sopranino recorder, but had difficulty getting a consistent sound out of it. Lower notes often came out silent, and I had forgotten how to finger a lot of the higher ones. Good thing I brought my whistles, too. They served for following the tenor part an octave up. Patrick, who had teased me earlier in the afternoon about the ghastly squeaks I was making in practice, was gracious enough to compliment me and the other two on our versions of "Greensleeves" and "I Saw Three Ships".
A dozen adults with Sarah, Patrick, and another UU child in tow bundled up as best we could and walked across the street to the Cotswold shopping plaza to sing there. Not many people were out at 6:00 on a cold Sunday night - the last before Christmas. Those who passed by, however, heard good four-part harmony on the carols. John who sings tenor had brought his tuba. He kept us all in tune and together with his solid playing.