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Speaking of Christmas music, here’s a silly little experiment I’m conducting. I ask people if they have ever heard Bach’s Mass in B Minor, arguably the greatest musical masterpiece of all time. Generally, a wave of dullness passes over my poor subject. I suspect they’re actually thinking too, “oh no! he’s going to launch into a know-it-all lecture, and I’ll have to hear the word “arguably” again. But, when I surprise them and ask, instead, if they have ever heard Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer, why then, we’re having fun again. “Yeah, of course, everybody knows that song! I love that song!”

So, you very well might wonder, what does this have to do with my playing the five-string banjo, and how does it involve a relatively unsung hero of extraordinary gifts ... Read More