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THE MUSIC OF CHRISTMAS

I love the music of Christmas. When I was growing up, we often sang Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and a satirical version of We Three Kings. Mom would bring a songbook full of Christmas Carols when traveling to Grandma and Grandpa’s house (a two-hour drive). As we sang through that book, I realized that “Angels We Have Heard on High” is my favorite Christmas carol. I think it is because I like singing the “Gloria” part.

 

After my Dad graduated from law school, my parents bought an LTD Limited Edition. Believe it or not – it had an 8-track tape deck in it. In the 70s, we had 8-tracks and cassettes. My parents bought an 8-track of Perry Como Christmas songs. During the Christmas season, it was played repeatedly. I enjoyed it and sat in the car's back seat, singing my little heart out. 

 

As I grew older, I discovered classical music and loved it. I am fortunate that I have been able to sing in several Sing-Along Messiahs and once sang a solo. I have been in the audience listening to the Messiah on several occasions. For Christmas, my friend bought me a ticket to the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus to hear them perform the Messiah. It was the best performance that I have experienced. Throughout the performance, I lip-sung many of the songs. I was enthralled. Watching the performance brought back many memories and joy. I was on cloud nine as we walked back to the parking garage.

 

Today is the day after the performance, and I have been thinking about Christmas music and its part in my life. Christmas music plays in July at my house. 

 

I am saddened that today's children do not even know what a Christmas Carol is. My niece and nephews do not know some staples – “Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” and more. I was recently at a Christmas Tree lighting at church. We sang “Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer,” and many children did not know the words. I fear many of our meaningful and fun songs of Christmas will disappear.

 

Christmas music comes in various styles and genres, catering to different tastes and moods. Here are some of the different types of Christmas music:

 

·      Traditional Carols: These are classic Christmas songs that have been passed down through generations. Examples include "Silent Night," "Deck the Halls," and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

·      Pop and Rock Christmas Songs: Many popular artists have released their own Christmas albums and songs, often with a modern or rock-inspired twist. Examples include Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee.

·      Jazz and Blues Christmas: Jazz and blues musicians often create unique interpretations of Christmas classics, infusing them with improvisation and a laid-back vibe. "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" by Dean Martin is a popular example.

·      Country Christmas: Country artists embrace the holiday season with songs that often evoke a sense of nostalgia and rural charm. "Blue Christmas" by Elvis Presley and "Christmas in Dixie" by Alabama are well-known examples.

·      Classical Christmas Music: Classical composers like Tchaikovsky, Handel, and Bach have composed beautiful pieces for Christmas, including "The Nutcracker Suite" and "Messiah."

·      R&B and Soul Christmas: R&B and soul artists bring their smooth vocal stylings to Christmas music, creating soulful renditions of holiday classics. "This Christmas" by Donny Hathaway is a classic example.

·      Gospel Christmas Music: Gospel choirs and artists perform songs that celebrate the religious aspects of Christmas, often with powerful and uplifting vocals. "O Holy Night" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain" are examples.

·      Contemporary Christian Music: Christian artists create original songs and modern interpretations of traditional carols that focus on the religious aspects of Christmas.

·      Instrumental Christmas Music: Instrumental arrangements of Christmas songs, often performed by orchestras or solo musicians, provide a soothing and festive atmosphere. "Sleigh Ride" and "Carol of the Bells" are instrumental favorites.

·      World and Ethnic Christmas Music: Different cultures have their own unique Christmas music traditions, incorporating regional instruments and melodies. For example, "Feliz Navidad" by Jose Feliciano combines English and Spanish lyrics.

·      Children's Christmas Songs: These are designed for kids and are often playful and educational. Examples include "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Frosty the Snowman."

·      Parody and Comedy Christmas Songs: Some artists create humorous or satirical Christmas songs, often poking fun at holiday traditions. "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" by Elmo and Patsy is a well-known example.

 

These are just a few examples of the different types of Christmas music, and there are many subgenres and regional variations. Christmas music is diverse, reflecting the wide range of emotions and celebrations associated with the holiday season.

 

Enjoy the music of the season.

 

Merry Christmas




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