How do YOU pronounce “In Excelsis Deo”?

Originally posted here on December 14, 2006. -micah

Imagine this: you're standing around a warm fireplace on Christmas Eve, bundled up in a woolen sweater, with some after-Christmas-feast eggnog in your mittened paws. Aunt Ruth kindly points out that everyone in the extended family would LOVE to sing some Christmas Carols, so some brave soul rallies the troops from all corners of the house, and strikes up the immortal Christmas anthem: "Angels We Have Heard on High".

First night in Qatar

reddingbrothers Rock & Roll Can Save The World

I just found this in my journal from when I was in the Middle East. I wrote this May 9, 2008.

Photos from Russia in the early 1900s

reddingbrothers Rock & Roll Can Save The World

Photos from 1900s Russia

What's amazing about these photos is that in most of them, the world and the people look thoroughly modern. Only the clothes are different. To me, some of them are shocking, as if I just turned a corner, and there was a couple of peasants walking down the street. I think it has to do with the color; typically photos from this long ago have a hazy, faraway look and color.

Moments: Bells of New York City

I was sitting outside at Starbucks, where the music is muffled, and this song came on their sound system. I could barely make out the sound, but when I strained my ears, I could feel how the notes were moving. It's like the music you feel before the music you hear. I loved it instantly. It wasn't until a few minutes later that I found out it was by Josh Groban, on his new album being hawked relentlessly by Starbucks itself. Which goes to show you that just because something is hawked relentlessly doesn't mean it's not amazing.

Moments: Don't Stop Believing

It all started with this. From the time I saw the first episode of Glee, I started identifying "moments" all around me. In music, in film; they were everywhere, but they weren't common. In those moments, the magic happens, space is thin, and everything is in perfect alignment.

For this to happen in music, it requires more than just instrumental and melodic perfection. It requires that everyone from the bass player to the triangle player be caught up in what they are creating. It requires that the singer not just hit the note, but feel the note, from the bottom of her feet to the top of her head; for everything in the singer's life and experience to be honed to a perfect focus in this one instant.

For this one moment, the singer and the drummer and the band and the audience truly believe.

I've always known these moments exist, but until I heard this rendition of this song, I didn't have a term for them. For me, this moment occurs 0:40 seconds in, when Rachel sings "they took the midnight train going anywhere". But it's not really the line, it's the word "midnight", and more specifically, it's the instant she mouths the M. In the show, you can see it on her face. In the music, you can hear it. For whatever reason, she believed. She believed in that train, in those people, in their relentless pursuit in the night.


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