Tuesday, December 7, 2010

:: Gesu Bambino ::

I miss my Papa (grandfather) the most during the holidays.  This was his favorite holiday and he was so special to me.  He loved music.  He loved Christmas music.

There is one christmas song that stops me in my tracks.

It's a song my Papa used to sing every holiday season.  The way he sang it...I wish I had a recording.  His beautiful baritone voice sang each note so effortlessly.  I cry just thinking about how I would get tears in my eyes whenever he'd sing it - especially those last few notes.  I remember soaking it in - thinking someday there would be a day when I wouldn't have this luxury or privilege.  I always wanted to sing a song with him, but I never got to.  That is one of my biggest regrets.  But I knew he was proud of me - he even came to one of my All-State choir concerts with my dad one time.  I always knew he was proud of me and believed in me.  He would prove that over and over as my biggest fan, especially when it came time for me to live out on my own (but that's another story for another post).

My papa...he was an amazing singer and was the one who introduced me to his musical idols - Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo (aka The Three Tenors) and others.  Many afternoons were spent watching videos he'd recorded of these musical greats.  One of my fondest memories I have is when I first heard Andrea Bocelli when he sang "The Prayer" with Celine Dion.  I bought the CD and was so excited to show Papa.  The next time I saw him, I had him sit down in my parents' living room and I popped the CD into the player.  As the music began to fill the room and Andrea began singing, Papa closed his eyes and laid his head back until the last note.  I thought he had fallen asleep, but when the song ended, he looked at me proudly and told me this was good - really good.  I sat next to him and we just listened.  I felt so proud that I introduced HIM to something great.  I gave him the CD and I'm quite sure it got a lot of play time.

My last memory of my Papa singing was when we were all at my parents' house in Chico - 1998.  After much encouragement and prodding, he stood next to the piano with my mom (a familiar sight) and began the first few notes of Gesu Bambino.  I'm wiping tears as I remember him - so fragile and weak, literally holding himself up by the side of the piano as he sang.  His voice - weak at first, grew stronger and stronger until the very last few notes.  I looked around the room and everyone was crying.  It was such a beautiful moment that I will never forget.  It would be the last time I would hear him sing.

I am just getting to the point where I can listen to recordings of him and I desperately want a copy of him singing this song.  We have a lot of video footage of him singing, so I'm sure it's in there somewhere  (Mom, please help me!!).  I would give anything to hear him sing Gesu Bambino again...to hear those last few notes..."Let Us Adoooooore..."


English Translation:

When blossoms flower e'er 'mid the snows, 
Upon a winter night, 
Was born the child, the christmas rose, 
The king of love and light. 
The angels sang, the shepherds sang, 
The grateful earth rejoiced; 
And at his blessed birth the stars 
Their exultation voiced. 

O come let us adore him 
O come let us adore him 
O come let us adore him 
Christ the lord. 

Again the heart with rapture glows 
To greet the holy night, 
That gave the world it's christmas rose, 
Its king of love and light 
Let ev'ry voice acclaim his name, 
The grateful chorus swell 
From paradise to earth he came 
That we with him might dwell.