Open Mic Adventures XV: “O Holy Night”

My favorite Christmas song of all time is Adolphe Adam’s “O Holy Night“—so much so that I wrote a subscriber-only post analyzing the song way back in 2019.  Naturally, it’s a perennial standard in my school’s annual Christmas concert.

In the interest of changing things up and preventing listening fatigue, I don’t program it every year, but it shows up just about every other year, so it’s fairly ubiquitous.  If I a particularly gifted singer, it makes for even more poignant performance.

This year I have been thus blessed.  Not only is the singer great, but the band is, too!

Of course, this video is not from an open mic night, so the title is (yet again) a bit of a misnomer, but it certainly fits into the spirit or ethos of the proud open mic tradition I so cherish.

Read More »


Memorable Monday^2: Away in a Manger

Good old Ponty is under-the-weather and was unable to submit his #5 pick for Best Movies of All Time, so I’m reaching into the archives to pull out some Christmas merriment this Monday morning.

I decided to look back at a post about “Away in a Manger,” a Christmas carol that has become one of my favorites (maybe Ponty and I should do a countdown of the Top Ten Best Christmas Carols, but I have a feeling it’d get pretty redundant pretty quickly).  My Middle School Music Ensemble played this piece on the Christmas Concert, but we put it in 4/4 time and gave it a groovy bass line (the same riff from the Poison cover of the Loggins and Messina tune “Your Mama Don’t Dance“).

It was a fun twist on the original, but even though the Poison riff version was my idea, I prefer the original in its sweet, lilting 3/4—the perfect time signature for a peaceful lullaby.

Regardless of how it’s played—or which of its many variants are sung—it’s a beautiful little song about the Birth of Jesus.

With that, here is “Memorable Monday: Away in a Manger“:

Read More »

Open Mic Adventures XIV: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

The title of this week’s piece is a bit of a misnomer:  it’s not from an open mic night, but from a morning church service.  There’s also no singing—at least, not from me!  I’m just tickling the ivories.  *Tickle, tickle!*

The piece here is one of my favorite Christmas carols, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”  We did sing it for morning service this past Sunday, 27 November 2022 at my little country church, but I was warming up and having a bit of cheeky fun beforehand.

Read More »

Lazy Sunday CXLIV: More Christmas Carols

Christmas is just six days away!  It’s hard to believe, but here we are yet again.

It’s been a great season for Christmas carols, which I’ve enjoyed playing—with gusto.  I’ve gotten “Joy to the World” down to a science, it seems.  I’ve also been whipping out some of the more obscure gems.

Merry Christmas!


Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

TBT: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

My school’s big Christmas concert is tomorrow—the first once since December 2019, the infamous “Corporate Christmas” concert—and my Middle School Music class is playing and singing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”  It’s one of my favorite carols, and is apparently my pastor’s favorite.

We’re doing the iconic first verse, as well as the third verse, which echoes the themes of the first.  There’s a great line—“ris’n with healing in His wings”—that just sounds epic.  It’s such a regal tune, perfect for The King of Kings arriving on Earth to save His fallen Creation.

Fortunately, my Middle School students seem to agree, and I am proud of their rendition.

With that, here is 8 December 2020’s “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing“:

Read More »

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

This past Sunday was the first of December, and my first time back at my little church since Thanksgiving.  That meant it was time—finally!—to play some Christmas carols.

We started the service with a rousing congregational singing of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” which is apparently my pastor’s favorite carol.  Our second congregational singing was “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” a beautiful little hymn with some interesting harmonies and leaping melodies—typical of carols.

Read More »