Are you a Christmas music fanatic? Do you long to hear something different, something other than the standard Bing Crosby, Burl Ives or Nat King Cole? Well, check out the library’s extensive Christmas music collection on CD. The library has more than 800 Christmas music CDs!
For the past year (since last November), I’ve been listening to Christmas music non-stop. Luckily I love Christmas music, and I have a desk job so I can wear headphones while working (I think my coworkers would kill me if I played this stuff out loud year-round). I made it my personal goal to listen to every Christmas CD the library has. I’ll admit sometimes it’s been difficult, especially when it’s been over 30 Celsius in the middle of summer, but now that it’s November again and the snow is back it has become easier. Surprisingly, after a year, I’m still not sick of Christmas music!
In the past year I’ve listened to over 60% of the collection, so I still have a ways to go, but I have listened to hundreds of CDs I would never have listened to and some of those CDs have been so good I’ve went out and bought myself copies. I also know what sort of Christmas music I don’t like, but this article will focus on the some of the ones I think deserve some recognition.
Ashanti’s Christmas was the first CD I listened to that I liked enough to buy. I was vaguely aware that she was a singer, but I had no idea what she sang or anything about her. I have to admit I thought it would be another trite, overdone CD. I couldn’t be more wrong. Her voice is so pure and clear and the songs are fairly traditional. I love this CD!
In a similar vein, A Winter Symphony by Sarah Brightman is also well worth listening to. Again I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the CD, but I was proved wrong once again. She has a clear and powerful, but, at the same time, soft voice and it works wonderfully well with the arrangement of traditional and unfamiliar carols.
Who knew I liked Celtic music, or medieval music? I had never heard of Celtic Woman, but I certainly put A Christmas Celebration on my wish list. Of course I knew of Loreena McKennit, but I was only vaguely familiar with her music. After listening to A Midwinter Night’s Dream I have definitely put it on my “to buy” list.
If you prefer your music more upbeat try Destiny’s Child’s 8 Days of Christmas. I loved the CD and especially loved their interpretation of the 12 days of Christmas. Elton John’s Christmas Party is also great for a rocking good time. His compilation includes everyone from Otis Redding, U2 and The Pet Shop Boys. Of course Elton sings a couple of tunes himself. I would highly recommend both CDs if you’re hosting a party.
Never in a million years would I think I would like choir music, but I loved Joy to the World by the Robert Shaw Chorale. Perhaps because I attended churches with an “open door” policy on choir members (if you wanted to join, you could, regardless of any sort of musical talent), but I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was.
If you really can’t go without Bing or the other crooners, you’ll love the 3-CD set entitled Happy Christmas Memories. Bing, Elvis, Rosemary Clooney, The Andrew Sisters and Danny Kaye are well represented along with many others.
Although I think that Bing Crosby gets overplayed, I did quite enjoy The Voice of Christmas : the Complete Decca Christmas Songbook. It has got all of the tunes we are familiar with, as well as some I had never heard before, including “O fir tree dark”, “Looks like a cold, cold winter” and “Little Jack Frost, get lost”. It’s a great find.
Some other recommendations include: Christmas Portrait by the Carpenters ; Christmas Greatest Hits (a compilation) ; Peace on Earth by Matt Dusk ; Christmas Stays the Same by Linda Eder ; Christmas by Colin James & the Little Big Band ; Joy : a Holiday Collection by Jewel ; Christmas with Dino and Season’s Greetings both by Dean Martin ; and finally The Christmas Music of Johnny Mathis.