John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

Advent 2008: A Christmas Festival

Today, as you churchgoers in the crowd already know, is the first Sunday in Advent. And you know what that means: it's time for annual Advent project! Every day during Advent -- the period starting four Sundays before Christmas -- and Christmastide -- a.k.a. the twelve days of Christmas, I make a holiday-themed post. In 2003 and 2006, I posted a holiday poem every day. In 2004 and 2007, I posted a holiday work of art every day. And in 2005, I posted Christmas cards. So what about this year?

Honestly, I wasn't sure I wanted to do one this year. It tends to be really time consuming, and at no point in the last few months did I feel inspired to think of a theme and start gathering material. Then I got to thinking: what about Christmas music? I already own a lot of Christmas music, and it's readily available... in other words, something I could do without too much preparation. Sounds like a plan! As usual, I'm going to try to mix familiar songs with lesser-known ones, and the sacred with the secular.

One difference this year: I don't intend to keep these songs available indefinitely. Except for those recordings that are already freely available, I'm going to keep the songs online for one week. In my experience, that's pretty standard among MP3 bloggers, so don't dilly-dally. [UPDATE 11/30/2009: Since I'm linking to this entry in this year's Advent Project, I'm making the file available for another week.]

So let's get to it! Kicking things off this year is Leroy Anderson's classic "A Christmas Festival." It's one of my favorite, and a good thing too: I think I've performed this work at least four times. This is not the concert band version I performed, but the original orchestral version Anderson arranged for the Boston Pops. The songs in the medley are Joy to the World; Deck the Halls; God Rest ye Merry, Gentlemen; Good King Wenceslas; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; The First Noel; Silent Night; Jingle Bells; and O Come All Ye Faithful.

Arthur Fiedler/Boston Pops - A Christmas Festival (MP3, 7.94 MB)

Previous Advent posts:

2003: O come, O come, Emmanuel
2004: Iverskaia Mother of God
2005: With you decorating the tree...
2006: Project began Dec. 3
2007: Project began Dec. 2

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