Staff Rotation | Holiday Favorites 2017

Caramoor’s staff rounded up 22 songs to put you in the holiday spirit this season. Read on to see why these songs were chosen and listen to the playlist!

Listen to the playlist on Spotify:

See all of our staff picks below, and share some of your Holiday favorites with us!


“8 days of Hanukkah” performed by Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

Get ready for a smile to be on your face for exactly 3 minutes and 43 seconds, and welcome to the only Hanukkah song that you should be listening to. The late great Sharon Jones and her Dap Kings put out this song in 2015 entitled, 8 days of Hanukkah, and it not only goes through all of the Hanukkah traditions, but mentions a couple of other Jewish traditions as well. And this all goes down in the name of funk, jazz, and pure soul music. The next time you hear someone complain that there aren’t any good Hanukkah songs (compared to Christmas songs), then take them aside and make them listen to this.
— Roslyn Wertheimer, Marketing Coordinator

 

“A Great Big Sled” (with Toni Halliday) performed by The Killers

Every year since 2006, the Killers have released a Christmas/Holiday song. “A Great Big Sled” was their first release and the imagery of rolling around like a kid in the snow has stuck with me since then.
— Alex Cutrone, Audience Services Manager

 

“All I Want for Christmas is You” performed by Bria Skonberg

I’m still tapping my toes after Bria Skonberg’s fantastic concert in the Music Room last month. I love her jazzy version of this popular holiday tune.
— Kathy Schuman, Vice President, Artistic Planning

 

“Ave Maria (Franz Biebl)” performed by Chanticleer

This is one of the most beautiful choral works and reminds us the purpose of the season. Personally, I also have many fond memories singing this work in college where we would surround the audience in a chapel, turn out the lights, and hold candles while singing.

I chose this particular clip as Chanticleer is one of my favorite choral groups. Yes, I am partially biased growing up near their hometown of San Francisco, but their work is exquisite and I hope everyone gets the opportunity to hear them. Also, I like that Chanticleer joined forces with the US Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club—a reminder that music unifies and brings together so many different people.
— Jeffrey P. Haydon, Chief Executive Officer

 

“Carol Of The Bells” performed by St Paul’s Cathedral Choir and Andrew Carwood

I always loved the way the music was written to really sound like bells! And choral music is so appropriate for the Holidays! (LOVE bell choirs!)
— Gina Cassetta-Westenberg, Rosen House Assistant

 

“Hallelujah Chorus” from The Messiah

I remember singing this with my high school chorus at a convention of HS choral groups. At lunchtime, someone starting singing this in the building’s four-story atrium, and suddenly there were 1,000 voices joining in! Hearing it always takes me back to the sound of all of those voices lifted in joyful song.
— Roanne Wilcox, Publications Editor

 

“Christmas is Coming” performed by Vince Guaraldi Trio

One of my favorite holiday tunes is “Christmas is Coming” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. This comes off of my favorite holiday album A Charlie Brown Christmas. Never fails to get me in the spirit (even when I listen to it in July).
— Timothy Coffey, Artistic Coordinator

 

“The Holly and the Ivy” performed by TENET

I have a real soft spot for traditional English Christmas carols. My mother was English so these were the carols that I grew up with at home. I’m a choral singer so I also love to sing these—there are such wonderful arrangements of these carols, like “The Holly and the Ivy,” sung here by the wonderful NYC-based group TENET.
— Kathy Schuman, Vice President, Artistic Planning

 

“I Wonder As I Wander” performed by Choir of King’s College

A Christmas carol written in 1933 by American folklorist and singer John Jacob Niles—but this version is better.
— Karla Stewart, Concierge Program Manager

“In the Bleak Midwinter” performed by King’s College Choir of Cambridge

In the past, without electric lights and heat, winter must have been a very bleak season indeed. But all cultures and religions born of regions with cold winters found reasons to celebrate and create a little warmth. The beloved hymn, “In the Bleak Midwinter” reminds us of the time when the winters were austere, cold, and simple and yet people were given hope at the birth of a child in humble surroundings. Whether one subscribes to the beliefs of this specific story, I think we have all been able to appreciate the joy and subtle beauty that only a small child can bring. The poem, deeply descriptive and solemn, written by the English Poet Christina Rossetti has been set to music separately by Gustav Holst and Harold Edwin Darke. The latter arrangement, more difficult to sing, is one of the most stunning melodies of the season and, to me, is best listened to under blankets by a fireplace whether there is snow outside or not.
— Ellie Gisler Murphy, Manager of Artistic Planning

 

“I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm” performed by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

I’m not sure when this song first crossed my path, but I every time I hear it, I can’t help but smile, sing along, and enjoy the playful way Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong feed off of each other. Every year, I choose this song to start off decorating the Christmas tree.
— Emily Buffum, Digital Media Coordinator

“It Feels Like Christmas” from The Muppet Christmas Carol

When I was growing up, it was a tradition for my cousins and I to watch The Muppet Christmas Carol on the day that my whole extended family would make the pilgrimage to Jones’ Tree Farm to pick out Christmas Trees. This song was our favorite; we would sing it for hours afterwards, much to the dismay of our parents.
— Lindsey Partelow, Box Office Manager

 

“Jingle Bells” performed by Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis

This version to me sounds like going on a cozy sleigh ride and holding hot chocolate. It paints the perfect romantic picture of winter. I also can’t help but to be charmed by Jazz at Lincoln Center’s adorable animation.
— Emily Buffum, Digital Media Coordinator

 

“Merry Christmas Baby” performed by Bruce Springsteen

Bruce and his band just seem so jolly on this live recording, it’s hard not to love it!
— Alex Cutrone, Audience Services Manager

“How beautiful are the feet” from The Messiah

I always play The Messiah around the house at Christmastime. Here’s Philharmonia Baroque’s recording of one of the gorgeous arias, sung by the late Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson, one of our era’s most luminous mezzo-sopranos.
— Kathy Schuman, Vice President, Artistic Planning

“Waltz of the Flowers” from The Nutcracker Suite

Ironically this very well-known piece, from the second act of The Nutcracker, reminds me more of summer than of winter. Growing up in Saratoga Springs, New York, each July my Mom would take me several times to see the New York City Ballet perform at SPAC (Saratoga Performing Arts Center). Despite the often hot and humid conditions, complete with dripping ice cream cones, an outdoor summer viewing of The Nutcracker was a regular tradition. I would delightfully watch this celebratory scene unfold before me as the dancers made the music come to life—a magical and warm transition from the cold battles of the Nutcracker and the Mouse King—welcome sights and sounds any time of the year, most especially during the holiday season.
— Jennifer Pace, Director of Individual Gifts

 

“The Little Drummer Boy (Peace On Earth)” performed by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

This one is a favorite. I love the staged banter and Bowie’s voice is great as always.
— Scott Ellison, Education Program Coordinator

 

“Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” performed by Brenda Lee

I remember my Dad singing this every time I hear it
— Gina Cassetta-Westenberg, Rosen House Assistant

“Snow” from White Christmas

White Christmas is my dad’s favorite holiday movie. My December isn’t complete without watching it with him while we quote the movie word for word. This song has always been my favorite and sums up mine and my dad’s feelings about seeing the first snow of the season.
— Lindsey Partelow, Box Office Manager

 

“Someday at Christmas” performed by Stevie Wonder and Andra Day

I love the hopeful spirit of this song that envisions a peaceful world that values all life. There’s a bit of sadness I feel when I hear this song since we’re not at that point yet, but it’s a beautiful dream. After all, the first step to realizing a dream is articulating it (or singing it – which Stevie Wonder and Andra Day do splendidly!).
— Morgan Boecher, Director of Marketing & Communications

 

“Un Flambeau Jeanette, Isabella” performed by Chanticleer

Every Christmas Eve I listen to the live broadcast of the Kings College Choir’s Nine Lessons and Carols from Cambridge. I’ve discovered some beautiful lesser-known carols that way, like this 17th-century French one from Provence. Chanticleer’s is the best home-grown interpretation I’ve found of this gem.
— Kathy Schuman, Vice President, Artistic Planning

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” performed by Jingle Dogs

Here at Caramoor, we adore our pets and couldn’t imagine the holidays without their tuneful participation.
— Paul Rosenblum, Managing Director

From our family to yours, happy holidays!
We look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

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