12 Days After Christmas

On December 1, 1967 I moved into my rent controlled Penthouse in New York City that I resided in for the next twenty three years.. Since I didn't have my stereo connected (everything was still unpacked), I had a table radio playing while I was up on a ladder painting my Living Room ceiling. The Partridge In A Pear Tree Christmas Carol came on. Although I  thought the carol was pretty, I thought the lyrics were ridiculous. It was certainly not one of my favorites. I climbed down the ladder and switched to a different station and restarted painting.

 A few minutes later the same insidious carol came on that station. In my haste to get down and change stations, I missed a rung, landed on the floor and twisted my ankle. In a fit of rage I yelled, "What did she do with all those blankety blank gifts?" Eureka! I grabbed pen and paper and wrote the lyrics in ten minutes. Later that day I wrote the music. I sent the piece out as my Christmas Card. Bruce Savan, my agent at the time sent it to Carol Burnett who sang it on her show. The switchboards lit up with people wanting to know how to get a copy. A friend of mine published it and it went on to become the surprise choral hit of the year. It illustrates one of the principles I learned, and now share with my students. There is very little difference between a stumbling block and a stepping stone. It's all in how you use it.

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12 Days After Christmas


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