Pine Nuts: Omnis Terra Jubilate Deo

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts
McAvoy Layne

Music, I have to believe, is the best medicine on the shelf. It cuts down on our doctor bills and keeps us from sourin’.

So I went to the Jubilate Holiday Concert in Truckee to cheer myself up and put a spring back in my step. It turned out to be the best decision I could have made.

I must confess I had a personal agenda, I wanted to join the audience sing-along as noted in the advertisement. This personal agenda did not work out so well for me…

The handsomist of conductors, Miss Horst, got the concert off to a stirring start with, “Ave Maria,” which was so powerful and moving that it started me to snuffling in the front row, and I couldn’t stop, not even when 500 heads turned to have a look at me.

Miss Horst then soared into a calypso number that got me to singing, “Day-o, hay-o, asleep-o, sheep-o!” Nobody told me we were not supposed to sing-along with every song. Miss Horst turned and gave me a look that ordered me to draw down my colors as they say in the military, or find myself in front of a firing squad.

I was hoping my favorite holiday song might come up next, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth,” but Miss Horst launched into “Jubilate Deo,” in a language I don’t speak, Latin, though I was reminded of a poem I wrote on my binder in 9th grade, “Latin is a dead language, dead as it can be, it killed the Romans, and now it’s killing me.”

Finally, Miss Horst got into something I could sing right along to with the best of them, “Fa-La-La!” Yes, I belted that one out like Etta James or any one of those old holiday crooners. But once again, I got a glance from Miss Horst that turned me into a church mouse.

Albeit, she then gave us some songs of salvation and peace in all different and wonderful kinds of colorful languages. The chorus sang in Mandarin, Zulu and Spanish, even evoking ancient cultures like Hebrew and Arabic, which corked me up pretty tight.

While I sat in silent awe, Miss Horst closed out the evening with “Omnis Terra,” all about Earth singing for joy and dancing in gladness. Well, that was all I needed to get me up and dancing. I don’t normally dance in church, but “Omnis Terra Jubilate Deo” was me all over, and I didn’t need a Latin dance instructor, either.

I’ve been in a good mood ever since that Holiday Concert, and am temporarily over the blahs of the impeachment thing. Though today I did get a note in the mail from somebody who also attended that magnificent concert. It read, “McAvoy, those who criticize your writing never saw you dance.”

I’m now determined to learn the words of some of those beautiful Latin songs, and try to blend in next year in Truckee. And too, I maintain, with more conviction than ever before, that music is still the very best medicine on the shelf. The Truckee Holiday Concert was a foretaste of heaven for me, and Maestro Horst is my hero …

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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