For those who love Christmas music, as I do, there are many opportunities to hear great pieces this season, both online, on the radio and television, and in person.
Early this year, I indulged myself and bought a subscription to Xirius radio. For those who may not know, the channel offerings cover a wide range of both talk shows, news, and music; and they come to your car radio without static, no matter where your car goes. My favorite channel this season is one named Holly. While driving lately, I have heard a few new songs, such as Barbra Streisand’s fast, rather witty version, of “Jingle Bells.” I love listening to “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch,” a hilarious song about that evil Christmas character from the movie “The Grinch that Stole Christmas,” and several holidays songs from the driving rhythms of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
While at home, I enjoy listening to Youtube.com’s holiday tunes, which often have accompanying videos. Anything that Pentaonix Sings, with their flexible voices that mimic instrumentation, is wonderful. There is a video version at Rockefeller Center of Josh Groban’s Noel album version of “Little Drummer Boy,” a song complete with bagpipes, a guitar, backup singers, and forward-moving drums. How can anyone sing that well?
My favorite Christmas song is the “Home Alone” movie version of “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas,” sung by The Drifters. I sing along sounding like a howling doggie no matter when I hear it, but my favorite thing to do each holiday season is to find funny skits that people put together as they lip-synch the song. Type in the word “skit” and then the name of the song. You’ll be amazed.
I like little-known Christmas songs. One is David Phelps’s version of “That’s what it Takes to Make a King.” Read some of the lyrics: “Starlight. Moondust. Voices in the sky. Midnight and then just a tiny baby’s cry. Shepherds, amazed to hear the angels sings, that’s what it takes to make a king.” Another adorable song is “Donde Esta Santa Claus?” It’s a cute song sung in English by a young boy except for the lead line, which means “where is Santa Claus?” There is a great song called “What Will Santa Claus Say When He Finds Everybody Swinging?” It is set to the swing music of the 1920s-40s and was written by Louis Prima, a bandleader, singer, and songwriter.
Melancholy Christmas songs draw me in. Sarah McLachlan’s “River” about a woman who wants to escape the holiday season makes me determined to overcome hardships, no matter the time of year. The theme is similar to Dolly Parton’s “Hard Candy Christmas.” Everyone appreciates McLachlan’s popular, “In the Arms of an Angel,” and her “Song for a Winter’s Night” is about a soldier’s wife longing for her husband.
The passion that the group Selah pours into each of their songs is fabulous, Christmas or whenever. However, listening to “Oh Holy Night” and “Where Are You Christmas?” (the latter of which many others sing , but no one does it better) is amazing.
Several artists are coming out with new albums that we all should explore. Some of those artists are Fantasia, Herb Alpert (I’ve been a fan since the 1960s), Gwen Stefani, Mariah Carey, and Reba McIntyre.
I recorded the Country Music Association’s Christmas special hosted by Reba on Nov. 27, and I will listen again throughout the holidays. On Dec. 12, Gwen Stefani will host her first television special, as will Taraji, a singer with whom I am not familiar. An IHeart Radio special is on Dec. 14.
LeAnn Rimes will sing at Oxford Performing Arts Center on Friday, and the Annie Moses Band will have a night of holiday music on Dec. 21.
Watch the The Anniston Star’s and the weekly newspapers’ calendar items for local church events featuring holiday music. Yours truly will play the clarinet in a concert at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 17, at Parker Memorial Baptist Church. We have several nice pieces to perform that will be interspersed with narration. This orchestra, like all ensembles in our area, works hard to prepare lovely Christmas music for our community. Be sure and attend at least one performance at a nearby church.
No matter how listeners listen or what genres they listen to, Christmas music can enhance the holiday season. There are new songs to discover and old songs to enjoy.
Email Sherry at firstname.lastname@example.org.