LS: Favorite Christmas Songs December 21, 2008

Angela Walsh’s favorite Christmas song is “The Christmas Song” with its reference to chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

It reminds her of her mother, said Walsh, director the Grand Valley Catholic Outreach soup kitchen.

“I had just learned this song at school and was singing it to her,” Walsh said. “She loved it, and she told me she had never heard it before. Well, being the youngest of eight children, it was pretty rare I was the first to teach my mom anything. I now know she probably had heard the song before, just not in the key I was singing it.”

From traditional hymns to secular tunes, Christmas songs are as varied as people’s reasons for liking them.

For some, the songs and carols bring fond childhood memories, while others are reminded of why they celebrate the holiday.

When local DJ Ryan “Griz” Gruwell is hired to make a soundtrack for a holiday party, most of his clients ask for a mix of traditional and modern Christmas tunes.

Gruwell, owner of DJ Ryan Griz Entertainment, said his favorite Christmas song is “O Holy Night” for its lyrics and melody. For those same reasons, his wife, Bri Gruwell, likes “Silent Night.”

“She loves Christmas music,” Ryan Gruwell said.

Sarah Quinlivan, seventh-grade science teacher at Mount Garfield Middle School, looked to her childhood for her favorite song, “Little Drummer Boy.”

“This was always my favorite because of the ‘rum-pum-pum-pum,’ ” Quinlivan said. “I remember singing it in grade school and loving that line.”

Sometimes it’s hard to pick just one Christmas song as a favorite.

“It is hard to say which of so many wonderful carols is my favorite,” said Judd Berry, music teacher at Clifton Elementary School.

“I have always liked the carol ‘White Christmas.’ It has such an attractive melody ... I also like the traditional English carol, ‘Christmas is Coming.’ It is a reminder of the need so many people in this world have every day. My favorite rendition of this piece was sung by the Muppets.

“Above all, Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ, and ‘Away in a Manger’ illustrates the event told so well in the Bible. The words are wrapped in a melody to create a combination that is heartwarming,” Berry said.

Stan Scott, vocal music teacher at Central High School, said he likes “Where Are You Christmas?” from the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

“It has such a great text about everything that Christmas was in the old days, but also about what Christmas should be about even right now,” Scott said, “but my favorite faster song would have to be ‘Jingle Bells’ because it’s an upbeat, feel-good song about the simple pleasures in life and enjoying the outdoors with good company.”

Travis Swanson’s favorite song dates to the early 1800s.

“My favorite Christmas carol is ‘Silent Night,’ ” said the band director at Orchard Mesa Middle School. “It represents the true meaning of Christmas. I can remember my great-grandmother singing it during the holidays, and it’s one that my family sings on Christmas Eve.”

“Joy to the World” is a favorite of Joann Hall, president of the Grand Junction Music Teachers Association’s Wednesday Music Club.

“You can’t hardly sing it without being happy,” she said.


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