Monday, December 12, 2011

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks

I've been slow to get into the Christmas season this year, for some reason.  Maybe because it's been one of the warmest D.C. Decembers in recent memory, or because November was so busy, I feel like there should be an extra month left before Christmas. Whatever the reason, it's been a slower to hit me this year, though my tree is decorated, I've attended my annual Nutcracker performance with Jules, watched White Christmas (multiple times), and nearly finished my shopping.
Last night, I had left my office and was headed for the Metro station, my mind on the conversation I'd just had with my insurance agent and my grocery list and, oh yeah, must remember to reschedule that dentist appointment. As I trudged up 19th Street, I heard a brass quintet arrangement of "What Child Is This?" faintly wafting from near the station, but I didn't think much of it.  Hearing music isn't unusual in this area, considering the buskers (of varying levels of talent), some of whom play with recorded tracks, and, occasionally, music coming from a loudspeaker somewhere.
The closer I got, the more real it seemed. It sounded live, but it was too good, too in tune and in sync to be a group of street musicians. But I got to the station entrance and, lo and behold, there stood a brass quintet--inner city high school students, from what I could tell--playing carols for the commuters.  An instrument case was open in front of them ("TUITION," joked a hastily-scrawled sign), overflowing with bills and change, and numerous people paused to listen before hurrying on their ways.
I've never been stopped in my tracks by the music of a street musician before--and I rarely take the time to dig out my wallet for spare bills--but these five young men, cheerfully chit-chatting with interested commuters on a cold December evening and filling the air with the sweet sound of carols, yanked me straight out of my preoccupied haze and into the Christmas spirit.
'Tis the season. Finally.

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