By Jenny Neyman
Photo by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. Jack Will, Tammy Vollom-Matturro and Sue Biggs perform holiday music at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center on Saturday. ‘Tis the season for seasonal sounds, including a holiday music concert by the Redoubt Chamber Orchestra at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Kenai Christian Church in Kenai.
From the ethereal opening strains of “Silent Night” to the sweet, sentimental melody of “White Christmas,” the telltale bell jingling of “Sleigh Ride” and the snazzy beat of “Jingle Bell Rock,” holiday songs are as instantly recognizable as they are omnipresent this time of year.
Love them, hate them or start the season loving them and end it hoping for a power outage to avoid having to hear — yet again — about Grandma’s run-in with the red-nosed branch of the deer family, the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s is unmatched in the musical tradition it inspires, and in how inspired people are to cozy up to the soundtrack of December.
“There’s just so much great Christmas music and holiday music this time of the year, so people want to be singing and playing that kind of stuff. And then, because people are getting together to do this kind of music, they think, ‘Well, let’s do some festive music.’ And I think people are really wanting to do social things this time of year — get out and see friends and celebrate the season, go to concerts, go to plays and all that kind of stuff,” said Maria Allison, pianist, who accompanied violinist Emily Grossman in a concert Friday at Christ Lutheran Church in Soldotna.
As December bustles on, there’s ample opportunity to listen to live holiday music, from school concerts to church presentations and community events. Last weekend had a variety of musicians performing holiday music Saturday at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center, and Kenai Central High School’s choir had its annual holiday concert Sunday. Next week, the Redoubt Chamber Orchestra will perform an Evening of Christmas concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at Kenai Christian Church in Kenai.
Much of the popular holiday music repertoire is decades to over a century old, although a few newer tunes have reached the status of yearly airtime. Listeners today may not be familiar with donning gay apparel, affixing bells to bobtails or the popping of roasting chestnuts. But singing about such things is a chance to reconnect with songs only heard once a year, and the traditions with which those songs are linked.
“The singing tradition is lost every other time of the year. The songs that we sing at the holidays have been passed down for generations and generations. And the holidays are a time when families get back together and they continue that tradition,” Grossman said. Continue reading