Skip to main content


Showing posts from December, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Christmas (The Arrival of Saint Nicholas) Part Two!

So now you are word-perfect and can whisk you way through the first part of this Christmas classic, shall we move on?

(Steady with this line, make each word crisp so your audience can share in the excitement)
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call'd them by name:
"Now! Dasher, now! Dancer, now! Prancer, and Vixen,(indicate with the voice, you are encouraging the reindeer so try to be upbeat)
"On! Comet, on! Cupid, on! Dunder and Blixem;
"To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
"Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!" (faster)
As dry leaves before the wild hurricane fly,(don't stop here! You need to say these two lines together to make sense of them)
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys - and St. Nicholas too:
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew…

Reviving traditions; Recitals for Christmas

Reciting for an audience is a skill that, once acquired, becomes addictive. The trick is for the reader to disappear, leaving the listeners entranced. One of the classic performance poems has to be "The Account of a Visit from Saint Nicholas" which is more commonly known as the "Night Before Christmas". Wikipedia has a fascinating article about the poem's disputed origins but we can all agree that it encapsulates the excitement felt as we immerse ourselves in the Christmas dream.

There are many sources of this poem online and I thought that you might find it useful for me to add some reading (reciting) notes so you can enthrall your listeners this Christmas! See my notes in bold...

start quietly but clearly which will cause your listeners to lean in and become part of the story
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas so…

A poem about the postal service - how can that be entertaining?

As you post your Christmas cards, think about the journey they are about to embark on to reach their destination. The rather splendid 1936 documentary "The Night Mail" incorporated a poem by WH Auden set to the wondefully discordant music of Benjamin Britten celebrates the passage of the Night Train delivering letters.

The poem has a strong rhythm and, if you listen to the recording of the original documentary, you will hear that it is a perfect echo of the sound of wheels on a track. If you are reading in public, pay attention to the speed of the third stanza and see if you can increase the speeed as the train zooms down the tracks.

Your listeners will never look at the postal service in the same light again!

Night Mail - W. H. Auden (1907 - 1973)

This is the Night Mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner and the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient&…