Feature Writer Lynne Tatum – Merry Music

We grew up with actual vinyl albums and the cover of the “Joy to the World” record by the Robert Shaw chorale is forever etched in my mind. Played every year, we loved the beautiful harmonies of the timeless carols. I know we must have worn the grooves down until the needle slid right across the poor record.

I am fairly traditional when it comes to holiday music. Perhaps I should say that I enjoy holiday music from the genres that I listen to most during the rest of the year–Choral, Pop, Classical with some forays into R&B and New Age. If you listen to and enjoy holiday music, do you find yourself gravitating towards the familiar or are you willing to venture into new and unknown musical territory?

Three seasons ago, we began watching a program called “The Sing Off,” which is a competition of a capella groups. It caught our ear for four glorious nights and was done. It is now a multi-week series and I have been absolutely thrilled by several sublime arrangements. I have downloaded two holiday albums from the series, which I intend to listen to from Thanksgiving Day to the start of the New Year. A Capella holiday music was not on my radar, but last year several presenters on our favorite internet radio station, Mushroom FM, began playing music by a group called “Straight No Chaser” and again, I was drawn in by their clever arrangements and seamless harmonies. Finding that I enjoy the genre quite a bit, I now have a station devoted to a capella music on the Pandora app on my iPhone and plan on acquiring more music in this genre.

As someone who grew up learning to appreciate and enjoy classical music, I was thrilled to find holiday albums from the male choral group, Chanticleer. I shamelessly admit to listening to their version of “In Dulci Jubilo” (known to many as “Good Christian Men Rejoice”) throughout the year. They also perform an arrangement of a Spiritual holiday medley that is nothing less than music to my ears. Hmm. I wonder if they have any new releases.

We are also avid Glee fans. So it will come as no surprise to know that we do have holiday albums from that very talented ensemble as well. What I find incredible is the speed at which these albums are released. Their latest holiday offering is already in my music library. Soon you’ll be able to purchase top holiday releases in September. A popular local terrestrial radio station has already begun playing their annual non-stop rotation of holiday tunes.

What are your thoughts on this mostly joyous, sometimes annoying annual musical occurrence, Faithful Reader?

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