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Holiday Season: A time for cheer, and more importantly, music!

The holidays are always a magical time of the year. As the season of connection, the energies derived from various festivities seemingly brighten everyone’s moods. It is also an exchange of artistic capabilities. Holiday music, in particular, has been at the forefront, serving as an enjoyment to the ears of many. Recently, I received the opportunity to interview 4 musicians of unique backgrounds who truly cherish this kind of music. As this season comes to a closing, their reflections on their musical pursuits are truly reminiscent of the magic that comes along with the Holidays.


NICOLE MORALES - Violin

High school senior

Upcoming freshman at University of Chicago

 



With a relation to music, what is your favorite holiday memory?

My favorite holiday in relation to music is decorating the tree while “Christmas Time is here” from Charlie Brown played in the background. This was back when I was 8, so by far it is one of my favorite childhood memories.



What are your favorite holiday songs that you have ever played? 

It has to be White Christmas. It’s just an iconic jazzy song that embodies all the Christmas has to offer. Plus, jazz is fun to play on the violin.



What role does music serve in your life? 

It is a lifeline. I don’t know what I would do without music, either playing music on the violin or listening to my favorite bands. If I did not have that, I don’t think I would be alive, point blank.



What is your favorite aspect about music?

My favorite aspect is definitely how intricate music is and how the feeling of the musician come through in song, whether it be pop or rock or instrumental.



KENNEDY JORGENSEN - Piano

High school junior

Upcoming Quarantunes teacher



With a relation to music, what is your favorite holiday memory?


As Tri-M vice president, I was able to manage over delivering Carol Grams for my school. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with my choir companions going around classrooms and borderline embarrassing students with the same 30 second clip from our jazz arrangement of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”.


What are your favorite holiday songs that you have ever played? 


As a solo pianist, my favorite holiday songs to play tend to be jazzy or blues arrangements. For example, a few years ago I played “Do You Hear What I Hear?” in a beautiful mellow style, and last year I played “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole which was popular among my musical peers. I would also like to note that I had a splendid time learning and playing “Sleigh Ride” in both a piano setting as well as in my school’s band. I have found that my favorite band arrangements consist of multiple melodies and/or multiple variations and styles. This year we played a piece called “Minor Alterations” where common Holiday tunes were transposed into minor keys while we played “Driedel Dance” (a song composed of several sections varying in time signature, key signature, and tempo while maintaining the melody of “Dreidel, Driedel, Driedel”) in last year’s holiday concert.


What role does music serve in your life? 


In my life, music has been used as a creative outlet as well as a skill I’ve been able to practice at, develop, and notice improvement/growth. Music has also given me a community and a sense of belonging where I can collaborate, learn, and share with my peers. I’ve been privileged enough to use it as my first real job as I taught piano to beginners while I’ve also been able to use it as volunteer work at church or in other social gatherings.


What is your favorite aspect about music?


My favorite aspect about music is how versatile and multifaceted it is. The amount of genres there are is endless, and no one is subject to just one type. Personally, I am able to listen to a classical orchestra play Mozart’s “Eine kleine Nachtmusik in G Major” and have an alt/indie cover of the same song by Hidden Citizens play right after. At the same time, my neighbor can listen to hardcore rap or heavy metal, and it is all music with some even sharing similar theoretical components.


VICTORIA HO - Violin

High school junior



With a relation to music, what is your favorite holiday memory?

 My favorite holiday memory was probably when I was sitting in the car with my two best friends and we had our windows down, blasting Christmas music and singing along incredibly out of tune while driving down the highway to Tempe.


What are your favorite holiday songs that you have ever played? 

To be honest, I've played a lot so it's not often that some stand out but the most memorable ones were the ones I played this year: Sleigh Ride (obviously) and Concerto Grosso in G Minor by Arcangelo Corelli. They were both fun to play and also just very pleasant sounding.



What role does music serve in your life? 

Music is pretty important to me just in general, whether it's orchestra related or not. It's comforting in the way that it distracts me from life and my problems. It takes my mind off of whatever is bothering me and prevents my mind from constant chaos.



What is your favorite aspect about music?

My favorite aspect about music is the emotion and creativity that goes into creating it. I just find it so amazing how some people can play a few notes and go, "I can make a song out of that".


DIYA NATH - Hindustani Vocalist

Freshman at University of Arizona



With a relation to music, what is your favorite holiday memory?

My favorite holiday memory is listening to beautiful Christmas songs and also attending concerts and listening to Indian artists play sitar, sing beautiful ragas, and more. I get exposed to different kinds of music every day and being able to hum, sing and listen to these songs is a privilege. 


What are your favorite holiday songs that you have ever played? 

 I like a vast majority of songs and will listen to many music genres, but peaceful classical music and folk songs are my favorites. I love Assamese folk songs like Jur Moloya and Mayabimi Ratir Bukut by Zubeen Garg. I also love listening to songs of other languages since I listen for tunes and melody. That's why I love artist Dimash Qudaibergen, his voice is very powerful and I can feel the emotion with just knowing the gist of the song.


What role does music serve in your life? 

Music plays a huge role in my life and it makes my life more fun and joyful. I find it hard to go my day without humming a certain tune, whether it's bollywood, hindusthani, k-pop, or American rock. It also calms me down when I'm stressed and also motivates me to get through my day. For those, I listen to league of legends music or American rock bands like The Score. 


What is your favorite aspect about music?

My favorite part of music is the tune and sophistication of it. Coming from a Hindusthani classical music background, I've been trained to listen for the small things like harkat (short, fast, and intricate note clusters), voice modulation, key changes. Listening to those and picking up on those small things make my ears dance in excitement! I also love listening for a melodious tune, depending on what I'm feeling like. If I need some inspirational music, I'll listen to upbeat songs. If I want something fun and melodious, I'll listen to K-pop or folk songs!


On behalf of the Quarantunes Team, we hope y’all had a wonderful holiday, surrounded by the joy of the arts! Goodbye 2023, and manifesting a 2024 full of great memories made from music.


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