I just returned home from a choral recording session for three new Christmas arrangements for Hal Leonard Music. By now, I should be accustomed to that strange disconnect of working on seasonal music far removed from the season the music celebrates. But even after 30 years, it still feels a little strange to record Christmas music on a rainy day in March.
The truly cool thing about these three particular arrangements is they each have a unique jazz flavor to them. One is a lush treatment of the “Charlie Brown” classic ballad, “Christmastime Is Here.” Another is a salsa-flavored rendition of “We Need a Little Christmas.” And the last is a jazz waltz treatment of “Sing We Now of Christmas.” The accompaniment for these charts is a swinging rhythm section, smoking horns, and silky strings.
We tracked the charts a couple weeks ago, and the band knocked them out of the park. Today the vocal group did so, as well. I’m really looking forward to the final mixes. And I’m hoping these charts will be well-received by high school and college show choirs, as well as by adventurous churches that tackle secular material at Christmas.
Many thanks to Keith Christopher and Hal Leonard Music for allowing me to write these arrangements. I love it when a company chooses to do something a little outside the expected norms. How else will choirs know they want something different if no one ever offers it to them, right?