Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Concerts Approaching!

The 26th annual Clayton Holiday Concerts are happening this weekend (Friday and Saturday at 7:30, Saturday and Sunday at 3:00) at the Civic Auditorium. A variety of performers are helping to bring it off; Go! Contemporary Danceworks, Sound Company Children’s Showchoir, Soprano Natalee Louise McReynolds, and the Knoxville Choral Society.

The program is sprinkled with tunes from musicals and films spanning the 20th century to a couple months ago. From the 1968 Broadway musical Promises, Promises comes the bubbly Turkey Lurkey Time. It’s another fine Burt Bacharach tune which some of you Glee fans will remember from a recent episode. Babes in Toyland was a monster hit operetta for Victor Herbert and his librettist Glen MacDonough in 1903. We will be playing The March of the Toys and Ms McReynolds will join us for Toyland. Check out Helen Traubel singing Toyland in this vintage recording. Be a Santa is a classic Broadway Christmas tune that closes act I of the 1962 musical Subways Are for Sleeping, with music by Jule Styne.

The 1942 movie Holiday Inn featured a veritable barrage of Irving Berlin tunes about various holidays, (including Washington’s Birthday!) but none more beloved than White Christmas. At the Christmas Eve service at our church growing up, our pastor (a WWII vet) requested that the congregation sing White Christmas; no song captures WWII-era holiday spirit the way this one does.

As the youngest of the family growing up, I was lucky to have older siblings with a variety of tastes in music and films. This is what led me to become enchanted by Lucille Ball’s last feature film, Mame, based on the Broadway musical Auntie Mame. I was dragged to the theatre one day by my sister Jean and her erudite husband Bruce to see it, and even though Leonard Maltin has since called it a BOMB, I loved it. What did I know? I was 12. Anyway, the tune We Need a Little Christmas comes from that movie. Like many of these tunes, the show from whence this comes is not a show about Christmas, per se, but has a holiday scene.

The 1963 musical Here’s Love sounds from its title, at least, that it should have been released in the late 60's. Meredith Willson had struck gold with The Music Man (featuring in the title role the same Robert Preston that played Gen. Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside in Mame), and this remake of Miracle on 34th Street mashes up Pine Cones and Holly Berries with It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.

Hope to see you’uns out and about!! And remember, Santa will be watching...

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