I grew up with a pretty musical family. My siblings and I all played a different instrument and my sister and I were always singing to songs like “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac and “Seasons of Love” from the musical, Rent. While my dad didn’t really sing along, he was our biggest cheerleader. He was always the first one to ask, “So when are we putting this family band together?”
It’s no wonder then that music was a simple thing we could give him for Christmas. We would record ourselves singing a variety of songs, holiday tunes blended with some of his favorites, and burn them onto a CD for him to unwrap December 25. He has always been so proud he had such a musical family, and every performer loves to sing for their biggest fan.
So when I mentioned the Jingle Jangle Jolly Joy Jam, it’s no wonder he was excited about joining the singing fun with all of us. Note-Able Music Therapy Services is a nonprofit that works to create lasting change in the lives of people of all abilities through the power of music. Their December event, (affectionately called 5J), is a virtual holiday concert and sing-along for the whole family on December 19 at 3:30 p.m.
The event is completely free, and they are featuring incredible local artists like Grace Hayes, Susan Mazer, and the Peanuts Gang Trio. If you register for the event, you’ll be entered for a few door prizes (like a gift card to Food + Drink and 6 passes to the Nevada Museum of Art) and will be sent lyric sheets to download (which means no one in the family will be able to back out of singing because they “don’t know the words”). With so many classic holiday activities canceled this year, it’s nice there are still some events where you can belt out “Frosty the Snowman” with your kids.
Whether you sing with a choir, customize playlists for someone in your family, or just hum along to Spotify, there is something really special about singing cheesy holiday tunes with family and friends. Music is a quintessential part of the holidays, and during a pandemic, a healthy one. Practicing music improves memory, academic performance, as well as social skills almost twice as much as sports, theater, or dance according to a German study.
Even though virtual caroling isn’t my favorite way to sing, it still evokes incredibly strong memories of time spent with my family. If you have the opportunity, I hope you’ll consider tuning in to 5J with the family… no doubt you’ll get the chance to make some special memories of your own and bring about that feeling of togetherness you can’t get any other time of year.
To learn more about Note-Able Music Therapy Services, an organization keeping the singing spirit alive, visit https://nmtsreno.org/.
Benjamin Engel is a guest contributor to Reno Dads and a subcontractor at the Gattuso Coalition. He enjoys portrait photography, singing musical theatre, and cooking southern barbeque.