Holiday Music: A Confession

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by Jan Seides
Sunday 3rd January, 2010, 3:56pm

I really love the music that goes with this time of year.

Every year I have a little party for all my students sometime in December. Their parents bring goodies, I make Music Teacher Punch (ginger ale and sherbet) and my students are responsible for the music. Before the party, my goal is to teach them MY favorite Christmas carols, MY favorite Chanukah songs, and, if I had any students who celebrated Kwanzaa, I would have them learn MY favorite Kwanzaa songs too (Is there any such thing as a Kwanzaa song?)

There is a plethora of Christmas songs to choose from: Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, O Come Emmanuel, Oh Holy Night, Gaudete (which I discovered last year after PBS aired a concert by Anuna, a new song called Little Colored Lights, from That Time of the Year, a production of which I was briefly involved in……so many that a list would be endless, not to say unnecessary.

Of Chanukah songs, there are fewer and I’m always on the lookout for new ones. This year, there was a windfall. A song called “Mama’s Latkes” from That Time of the Year, Hannukah in Santa Monica by Tom Lehrer (with whom I am secretly in love), and a big surprise: A Chanukah song written by Orrin Hatch, Senator from Utah. I already knew that Senator Hatch was a decent jazz keyboardist. But I also knew he is a Mormon, so the idea of him writing a Chanukah song came completely out of left field for me. I heard about it one afternoon listening to All Things Considered on NPR. Here it is, for your enjoyment.

Category: Music

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