Well, it’s that time of year again—Christmas is coming, and for the last four years I’ve made it a custom to learn and post a Christmas song to my YouTube channel. I, like many of you, really enjoy Christmas music, but by the end of the holiday season I’m sick of hearing it. The problem is compounded by how every year the stores and supermarkets are playing it earlier and earlier.
So, what happens is that I learn a new Christmas song, which involves playing it over and over until it’s second-nature; then I don’t touch the song again for 11 or 12 months. I forget how to play it in the off season.
When I was recently asked by award-winning singer-songwriter Nancy Beaudette to open for her annual holiday concert in Williamstown, ON, I was caught not knowing how to perform any Christmas songs “by heart.” This forced me to get around to learning my annual song for posting to YouTube; this time I chose “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” (click here to listen). The dramatic melody of this song always appealed to me when I was younger, and it was a real pleasure to learn it in its entirety. I also like how it’s a traditional song, with no known author, so it seems to fit with my folk music channel.
Christmas music, perhaps more than any other popular music, seems to function like traditional folk music: people from all over know the same songs. We also hold onto them and connect them to communal traditions. Unlike most pop music, the Christmas classics will likely be around for decades, if not centuries.
So, I hope you like my rendition, and the Christmas playlist I’ve started on my channel. Happy holidays!