Chimneyside Chats with Ruby Greenberg

by - December 22, 2021

Graphic created by Lucas Seidel Design

Gather 'round the open fire for Chimneyside Chats - a monthly feature with holiday stories from our favorite artists. See what's in their stockings this year as they reminisce on Christmas memories, share their favorite recipe and more! Here's what singer/songwriter Ruby Greenberg had to say: 

Growing up, it was typical for us kids in the family to get lots of opportunities to play music. My brother and I were enrolled in piano lessons, music classes, and performed often in the community and in school alongside our classmates. The holidays, however, were a very special time because my entire family gathered together to sing. My mom would sit at the piano and play chords, and all of us would sing Christmas songs. We'd squeeze three people onto the piano bench, I'd flip the pages of the songbook and we'd fight over which songs to skip and which to tackle. 

Occasionally, we would mix in other instruments. My brother started learning trumpet, so he was recruited to add to the arrangement by playing horn parts. My cousin started learning the violin, and he began to play as well. Sometimes when there was a bigger family gathering of relatives, there would be a crowd of us gathered around the wooden upright piano, reading off of one little chord book full of Christmas carols.

I wasn't really aware of how special this little tradition was until I was older. When I was an adult, I realized that I already knew the words and chords to hundreds of carols. As a working musician in my twenties, I was hired for Christmas gigs and building the repertoire was a breeze as I relearned music that was already familiar to me because of my family's holiday tradition. A lot of people feel a sense of nostalgia with Christmas music. Holiday carols pull us back to childhood, reminding us of gathering together and the carefree excitement that builds the night before Christmas. 

For me, holiday music is even more than that - it transports me to caroling with my family all throughout December, learning new songs from the holiday book and singing in three-part harmony. I think this also taught me that music is for everyone. As an artist and songwriter, my family now sees me as the musical one, but these early memories of caroling were special because the entire family came together to enjoy making music.

Learn more about Ruby Greenberg and listen to the song she chose for our Chimneyside Chats playlist!
"Joy to the World" by Sufjan Stevens

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