Songs for the Season

Unique Musical Programs

Archive for the month “November, 2013”

Santa Songs Third Edition

The 2013 edition returns to the full evening format which has much more fleshed out “patter” than the abbreviated version which was tuneful but less edifying last year.

It returns the opening number “Mummer’s Bells” an original piece I wrote with Paul L. Johnson. There are two other originals, a setting by Paul of A Visit from St. Nicholas which we call the “Night Before Christmas Jig” and “Dear Old Santy Claus” a parody of Jingle Bells about children’s letters to Santa.

Last season I added the ballad “Grown Up Christmas List” and it proved to be a lovely choice. Other improvements include the addition of the theme song from Meredith Willson’s musical version of “Miracle on 34th St,” the “Here’s Love” march in a delightful new arrangement by Nick Sula. The show also features two other songs from that show. I saw the original pre-Broadway tour of that show when I was an impressionable youngster and always hoped someday to perform the material.

My closing number is new this year, I’ll let it be a surprise, but I’ll just tease you with the fact that it is designed to be ostentatious.

Matthew and I have a had a great time preparing this event and we hope that you will come and support us like the good Santa’s helpers we know you all want to be. Cheers!

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Santa Songs: Origins

A few years ago I had a great time performing the role of Kris Kringle in a regional stage production of “Miracle on 34th St.” Being a trained actor with a serious craft I knew that to create this character convincingly I couldn’t simply put on a mask or portray a “magical” individual. I had to create a realistic person with a deep conviction that he actually was Santa Claus. To achieve this I did extensive research into the origins of the Santa tradition and wrote a back-story for my character that would justify his belief based on those traditions.

In the acting world this back story is called a character’s biography. I won’t go into detail here about all the imaginative choices I made for this biography, just two salient points. I gave him a back ground that allowed him to be expert in the traditions and put him in a circumstance where he became convinced that it was his destiny to identify with and enact those traditions.

After a life changing experience that caused him to change careers entirely when he got fired, (from being a toy importer, purchasing agent for a large toy store and author of a definitive news-letter on Santa traditions) I imagined that he turned to show-business and parlayed his expertise into a vaudeville act where he told stories and entertained with seasonal song and dance.

This allowed me to justify a character that not only seemed to “know it all” but also presented himself with the self -knowledge (and flair) of a performer who “owned” his act.

After this production ended, I started to think more and more about the “act” my character could have performed and decided that I would craft such an act for myself for a one man show. I continue to hone the material each season and I think I’m almost having as much fun as Kris would have had!

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