I Wish You a Merry Christmas!

It is true that a card is still nice to send and receive. It is also true that it’s always fun to try new things. Here’s a little tune that I and a couple members of my choir put together for our church.

In the Bleak Midwinter (lyrics: Christina Rossetti, 1872. music: Gustav Holst, 1906).

This version takes its inspiration from the 2006 performance by Sarah McLachlan. It sounds okay thru a phone speaker, but you can only get the full sonic impact with good speakers or earbuds.

The back story:
Since C-19 has restricted choirs and most live musical performances, our church congregation arranged for an early December pre-Christmas FB live event focused on the magic and mystery of the Christmas season. The invitation for musical contributions (with a list of public-domain “safe” options included) was sent by email in early-November.

I sent the list of song choices to my daughter, Jenna, and asked her if she would be willing to pick a song for us to record. I had no strong preference… Christmas tunes are pretty much always beat to death by overexposure and the number of renditions available on streaming services, with very few gems ever standing out above the noise (Nat King Cole, Elvis, The Eagles come to mind…). I had no great expectations…

She chose this song, and she even directed me to the Sarah McLachlan version online. I fell in love with the tune immediately and went to work on attempting to recreate that sonic magic.

On a cold Saturday morning in my basement, I played the piano and recorded Jenna’s vocal line. I think she sang it quite well. I asked my friend (and fellow choir-member), Tim, to help out by adding his amazing voice to the mix. He went above and beyond. I played some bass and guitar to finish it off.

Then I mixed it down and put some pleasantly “kitsch” winter visuals together for people to look at while listening. But personally, I prefer closing my eyes and listening to the song.

Best wishes for a joyous Christmas from me and mine to you and yours.


Thomas Magee