If You Could Ask for Anything...

Posted: 21st December 2010

Dear Santa... I've been a good girl this year (as you will no doubt already know from my place on your good list) and for Christmas I would really like...

How lovely it is to be able to ask Santa for the gift (or gifts) of our dreams. What did you ask Santa for when you were young? When Santa was still so real and you could ask for anything you liked? I'll bet it wasn't something mediocre but the best present you could think of. After all, Santa was buying and delivering wasn't he?

Without understanding the limited size of parental Christmas budgets, children can think of the things they really want, rather than the things they could realistically expect to find under the Christmas tree. Once we become aware of what is reasonable to ask for, we find ourselves adjusting our wishes and desires.

This happens in other areas of our lives; as we get older and we learn what is reasonable and expected of us, we temper down our expectations and goals to fit. Sometimes though, if you aim high and dream big and if you can just muster the courage to ask, you'll be surprised what magic you can bring into your life.

My other half and I love the Christmas markets in Germany and this year we opted for Berlin and we invited my dad and stepmother to join us. A couple of months ago we celebrated my dad's 60th birthday and it crossed my mind that as a special treat I wondered if I could engineer a little opportunity for him to play the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) organ while we were there.

Dad is a very accomplished organist, having played all types of organ; pipe organs, theatre organs, electronic keyboards etc, since he was a young boy and the opportunity to play at the Berliner Dom would be a little like asking to play at Westminster Cathedral in London. But I figured that if we asked, the worst thing that could happen is that they would say no, which to be fair was the most likely outcome. I have a little gem in my company called Debbie, a brilliant linguist whose past experience includes a post as translator at the European Commission. We did a little reasearch and then set about making the right contacts, following the line of people to speak to, and eventually came to Prof Her Andreas Seiling, the resident Berliner Dom organist. Several phone calls and emails later he delighted us by saying yes, even though it wasn't something they ordinarily agree to, especially as they were in the thick of the Christmas programme of recitals, concerts and services.

Dad was like a kid on Christmas eve but the occasion was as brilliant and as memorable as we expected. Have a look at the photos and the YouTube footage below. It just shows that sometimes, if you are cheeky enough just to ask, you might just be rewarded with an opportunity you never would have dreamed of.

So take another look at that letter to Santa... what would you really like to ask him for?


Phillip Hampson plays Berliner Dom organ - 9th December 2010

Dad playing Berliner Dom


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