Five Great Christmas Albums
My Christmas season is never complete without listening to Christmas carols that fill the air. Though I am not one to be in the spirit of gift-giving due to lack of funds, I still celebrate the holiday – at least in my heart – by simply enjoying the melodies that mark the season.
Traditional or modern, these tunes bring warmth to my heart, and truly give me a feeling of hope.
Indeed, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all the songwriters of the West who – with great inspiration and effort – have endeared themselves to me with music that makes me cherish the joys of Christmastime.
In this hub, I focus on five of my favorite Christmas albums which I love to play as soon as December sets in.
The Gunter Kallman Choir: Christmas Sing-In
Played all over the world, this album is also popular in Manila, and is played in almost every commercial establishment. It’s one of my favorites as well. I love the way the group jazzes up the songs, giving them a pop appeal. But the tracks I like most are The Season of Winter and December Dream because of their romantic mood.
And to lift my spirits, I turn to the delightful Where Did My Snowman Go? and Winter Wonderland, both of which the group delivers exceptionally.
Ray Conniff and the Ray Conniff Singers: We Wish You A Merry Christmas
My late mother was a collector of Ray Conniff albums, and she would play this album every Christmastime. I must say that I like it, too, even if it was released in 1962. This is one of those groups that sing the carols the way I like them – not in the modern jazz or disco version.
Indeed, I consider this album classic, timeless and worth re-listening to.
The Lettermen: For Christmas This Year
The Lettermen is one of my favorite groups because of their strong appeal to the women (I am likewise their avid fan!). This is one of their earlier albums originally released in 1966. The trio then was composed of Jim Pike, Bob Engemann and Tony Butala, who is still a mainstay. (The blending of their voices is simply captivating!)
Every tune in this album is just magical!
Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album
When I first listened to this album in the ‘80s, I was immediately entertained by every tune. I found it a brilliant concept of RSO Records to feature the voices of Star Wars’ C-3PO and R2-D2. Opening with the lively Christmas in the Stars, the album includes two hilarious tracks - Merry, Merry Christmas (love the "one sheep, two sheep, three sheep..zzzz.."!) and What Can You Get A Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb?).
But the sweet melody of The Meaning of Christmas stands out, and it somehow brings a tear to my eye when I listen closely to the lyrics.
Yet, as a whole, this album is one musical comedy!
Listen in and have a good laugh!
Bukas Palad Music Ministry’s “Pasko Na!” (It’s Christmas!)
In the Philippines, the carols are played as early as October. Filipino music also has its share of Christmas songs.
I discovered this album released in 1999 by the Bukas Palad Music Ministry, a Catholic group composed mostly of alumni of the Ateneo de Manila, one of the Philippines’ leading universities. The group composes and records religious music both in Tagalog and English.
My favorite Filipino Christmas album, this features melodies reminiscent of Little Drummer Boy, What Child Is This?, O Come All Ye Faithful and O Holy Night. My favorite tracks are Emanuel, Bituin (meaning "star" in English), When Christmas Comes, The Christ Child and A Christmas Praise.
But let us not forget that the true meaning of Christmas is not in the carols, nor in the Santa Claus, nor in the presents, nor in the festive food.
Christmas is really in our hearts when we think of our Lord Jesus coming into the world in the midst of poverty.
As we recall the Christ Child, Mary and Joseph, we remember that Christmas is the kind words we say, the patience we show in the face of contradictions, the smile we put on.
Indeed, this is the spirit of bringing good cheer.