Once upon a time, in a place...

Once upon a time, in a place not too far away, there was a town called, umm, Meantown, and it was run by a very mean pair called, uhh, Mr. and Mrs. Crunch. They did some pretty sour things, but the rottenest thing they ever did was to ban singing of any sort around the holidays. People could exchange gifts, and they could drink eggnog till they were blue in the face, but no one was allowed to raise a voice in joyful sound. Offenders were banished for life to the Dark Forest. Now this . . .

Uncle R.D., why were Mr. and Mrs. Crunch so mean? And was the Dark Forest really dark? And why didn’t the people just sing softly in their showers? And what exactly was the per capita income in Meantown?

Don’t know. Yes. Can’t say. And haven’t a clue ...

. . . Now this silence weighed heavily on the townsfolk. The holidays just weren’t the same if you couldn’t sing, and they all started to be mean to one another, which pleased Mr. and Mrs. Crunch mightily. The parties became boring, and pretty soon there were no parties. There was no laughter, no smiles. People continued to buy gifts, more and more expensive gifts, but there was no joy in the giving. They had become substitutes for the things that really mattered.


Gosh, Uncle R.D., what happened?

The local newspaper came in, and brave reporters and editors exposed Mr. and Mrs. Crunch, and saved the townspeople, and they rejoiced with song from morning till night. And church bells pealed.

And since then, choruses and chorales have treated this time of the year as a very special time. Which is why the Mission Choir and Soloists of Westwood Hills Congregational Church with the Los Angeles Baroque Orchestra will present Handel’s “Messiah” at 1:30 p.m. today, and the oratorio “Christus” will be performed by the Palisades Symphony, Brentwood Palisades Chorale and soloists at 7:30 p.m. today, and the Westwood Presbyterian Church Choir and Orchestra will present the premiere of “A Wreath of Anthems” at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. today. Finally, the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles will celebrate the winter season with a concert at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Wiltern Theatre. Check listings for details.

The end.


OK, have your milk and cookies, and get to bed.