I Believe in Father Christmas – Greg Lake

Certain songs say Christmas to the music of our heart. “I Believe in Father Christmas” is one of those songs. The song is accented by the fine guitar playing and stellar voice of Greg Lake.

Recently Greg Lake was asked in Facebook, What inspired you to write this song and what did it mean to you back when you wrote it? and What does it mean to you today and what do you want people to come away with from hearing this song?

Here is his response:

“I Believe in Father Christmas” was written by myself together with Pete Sinfield. It started out with this little guitar riff which I had buzzing round in my head for weeks but no matter how I tried I just couldn’t seem to develop it into a song. It actually started to drive me crazy and one day I found myself humming the tune to Jingle Bells over the riff. This is the sort if thing that happens to writers when they get a few steps away from total insanity.

Anyway I told Pete about hearing this melody in my head and he said maybe it could be a Christmas song. I really don’t like most of those good time Christmas party songs but after a while I began to reflect on what Christmas really meant to me as a kid and how this had somehow got lost in the commercial feeding frenzy that has taken priority in more recent years.

Pete and I started to think about this and after a while we began to identify the core belief that children have about Christmas that really encapsulates the magic and benevolent spirit of Christmas.

Basically it was the belief that all children have in Father Christmas and in a more general sense about how the story of the nativity represents the concept of peace on earth good will to all men.

I honestly can’t remember whether it was Pete or myself who came out with the actual line but it was something we pretty much realised simultaneously. It was the magic key which unlocked the door to the song. I Believe in Father Christmas.

Merry Christmas to Everyone. Greg.

I found this beautiful collaboration filmed live in 2006 at St. Bride’s Church, Fleet Street, in the City of London. Greg Lake performs his 1975 classic “I Believe in Father Christmas” with Jethro Tull’ s Ian Anderson on flute, David Arch on keyboards, Florian Opahle on acoustic guitar and the church choir.

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Paul McCartney, Martin Short SNL Skit

I thought Paul McCartney and Martin Short were so campy together when they did this bit on SNL on 12/15/12.

Short and McCartney play a duo of Christmas singers, Caleb & Monty. Short won’t let McCartney sing, but when Short’s character storms off, the set falls away to allow McCartney to perform “Wonderful Christmastime” with the children’s choir—a perfect ending to the holiday episode.

(Click the image below and watch the SNL skit after the obligatory 15 second advertisement)

Pageant Audition

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Jose Feliciano – Feliz Navidad – Westport, Ct.

feliz-navidadI was invited by my brother and his caretakers at the Westport Health Care Center to hear Christmas songs by Jose Feliciano tonight. Jose Feliciano lives in nearby Weston and he graciously took the time to perform for everyone. It made the Christmas season joyous to witness Jose Feliciano sing Feliz Navidad in such an intimate setting. Jose was joined by several other staff members, friends and their spouses to form a Christmas musical ensemble.

It was very moving to know Jose Feliciano and friends cared to take the time to spread holiday cheer with people confined to a nursing home.

I am very appreciative of the giving people at Westport Health Care Center for holding this special event and for all the special care they show my brother every day 🙂

Keep Christ in Christmas – Jingle Bell Rock Tour

Mickey Thomas of Starship, Lou Gramm of Foreigner and Eddie Money are conducting a mini-tour together to Keep Christ in Christmas. Take a look at the poster below and go out hear these three great vocalists at the cities near you.

The concerts are about rock music and each of their respective hits but it’s also about keeping Christ in Christmas. I think it’s an ideal counter balance, don’t you? 🙂

Here is what each artist has to say about getting together to sing about Christ and Christmas.

“It’s going to be each of our respective songs and the holiday songs. We’ll be singing some things together. We really didn’t have the time to write originals,” says Gramm

“I think that Christmas is really all about the kids and the birth of Christ,” says Eddie Money.

“Of course Christmastime is a great time for joy and to Keep Christ in Christmas is how we say it. I’m really looking forward to having a wonderful time out here,” says Mickey Thomas

Charles Xavier, Xmas Vibe

December 4th, 2010, Charles Xavier – “Xmas Vibe”

The Buttonwood Tree,  Middletown, Ct.

Mini-Vibraphone: Charles Xavier

Vocalist: Marcelle Gauvin

Guitar: Felix Rentschler

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“The ear is the only true writer and the only true reader.” – Robert Frost

The Buttonwood Tree’s art-style living room created an intimate ambiance for Charles Xavier’s Christmas avant-garde compositions. The setting proved to be an eclectic backdrop for the Charles Xavier, Xmas Vibe performance on Saturday, December 4th, 2010 in downtown Middletown. The proximity to Wesleyan University, famous for its renowned world music program, lent musical credibility to the evening’s proceedings.

Charles Xavier’s Christmas CD, Xmas Vibe is a mixed media abstract expressionist work.  It contains a combination of traditional Christmas songs which are first framed and then extended through various treatments a la musique electronique (Edgar Varese).

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The music format took on unique blends as the ensemble varied between Charles Xavier using a Mac Book computer for orchestral accompaniment and a primary focus with the mini-vibraphone. Charles’s role as jazz musician, composer, and arranger generated intriguing waves of energy. The various soundscapes guided the listener through new ways of interpreting old and familiar holiday classics.

Charles and his fellow musicians grounded us in such Christmas favorites as Silver Bells which allowed for the painted scenery to be enhanced with sensations’ of Oriental strivings, sharply accented by Church tower bells.  It was a total sensory experience immersing audience members in layers of textured sound, allowing the mind to escape to new realms of serenity.

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Charles Xavier and his group made effective use of mixed media especially when it combined spoken poetry offset by vibraphone peels and pinpoint electric guitar riffs. The selection Round Hill featured the poetry work of French poet , Charles Baudelaire’s The Enemy (1821-1867, Paris ,France).

The renditions of Christmas songs were a savored treat. Let It Snow conjured up the vision of jazzy feel sleigh ride across new fallen snow. A highlight of the evening was the Peanuts ,Charlie Brown classic by Vince Guaraldi, Christmas Time is Here. One could just tell this was Charles favorite piece as it is mine.

Felix Rentschlers’s efforts on the guitar were soft, yet melodic, achieving an astral plane when the tonality required. The slide guitar on the Christmas hymn, Silent Night was very poignant and lifting.

The metaphor that Felix and Charles established was both complimentary and evidenced precision in their craft.

Marcelle Gauvin’s vocals were a smart, added touch and she accented the holiday songs with a nightclub jazzy essence that contributed just the right musical collaboration layer to the mix.

There were several other Christmas selections performed that evening, such as Oh Christmas Tree with a French accordion technique that literally transported us to a riverboat on the Seine. O Holy Night fit in perfectly as the standard we all know and love.

The evening ended with an original composition by Charles Xavier, entitled Christmas Day is Almost Here. A wonderful composition that is evident of the joys and merriment that Christmas brings us young and old. Fittingly this selection closed out the evening as we thanked our musical trio, our host, Anne-Marie Cannata of The Buttonwood Tree and headed out into the mist of a New England holiday evening.

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Santa Claus at the ballpark


Santa Claus at the ballpark

Originally uploaded by LearningEdje

You know it was 95 degrees when the ballgame began at 6:05. I thought the guy in Santa Claus suit was insane at first. But the more the Christmas in July night unfolded at the Bridgeport Bluefish ballpark the cooler I felt.

It was a fun evening and we had a great time.

Our personal thanks to my brother-in-law Frank and my sister in-law Marian for the invitation. I also want to thank the Bluefish promotion team for a fun event. Thanks Citibank for the fireworks after the game.

Oh and the Bluefish won 6-4! Go Bluefish!

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