‘Tis the season once more, and it feels really nice to be carolling again after skipping a year.

Today we carolled in Publika to a tiny audience of 8 or so, among a setup of miniature houses and lawns overlooked by a double-storey, sparkling green Christmas tree. The audience was a good receptive mix of people; foreigners and Malaysians, one on a wheelchair, children and the elderly, middle-aged couples. When Chi Hoe announced that we were going to sing Ding Dong Merrily on High next, a couple of the children went “Yayyyy!” and started singing the first verse in anticipation.

It was then I suddenly realised, that as much as I missed singing the Handel Messiah and O Magnum Mysterium in the UK, it shouldn’t matter to me that I’m here now, in Malaysia, singing to a bunch of faces that look like mine, because the enraptured, smiling face of the lady on the wheelchair should be enough. The eager cheering children carefully skirting the one meter radius from our circle of carollers should be enough. Music bridges that bond wherever you are. Music makes people happy no matter where and to whom you sing.

It’s the same singing O Magnum Mysterium in Cornwall to a group of distinguished elderly churchgoers. It’s the same singing Disney songs in Malacca to very special children and adults, or children’s songs about saying hello how are you to a classroom of also very special schoolchildren in Coventry. It’s the same blaring the Hallelujah chorus in the Warwick Arts Centre, it’s the same harmonising to Ave Maria at a wedding in an Earlsdon church, it’s the same dancing and leaping about the stage wondering if someone is gay or European to a bunch of young and trendy Malaysians. It’s the same carolling to  overworked scruffy university students in the Math building in Warwick and sipping wine after, it’s the same carolling to happy children and a happy lady on a wheelchair at Publika and eating wantan mee at the food court before.

I should tell myself that everyday.