Our next fundraiser concert, showcasing the Lambertville area’s best musicians performing traditional and original holiday songs, is from 8-10 pm Wednesdsay, November 29, at Havana, 105 S. Main Street, New Hope. There is a $5 suggested donation. All proceeds benefit the historical society. The CD, “Season’s Greetings from Lambertville 2017” can be previewed and bought here.

We asked the artists about their memories of and thoughts about holiday music. Two of the performers at the upcoming concert at Havana responded as follows:

Pat Foran

“Wishing It Will be a Merry Christmas”

A Christmas Eve blizzard in 1966 left us 12 inches of snow in Lambertville for Christmas Day. It was the only Christmas we could use a sled (a brand new Flexible Flyer) as we walked in the middle of mostly unplowed South Main street to pull gifts and food to and from our aunt’s annual Christmas dinner. I believe the last time kids were able to sled down from the top of Swan Street from Cottage Hill was 1965, during a very cold stretch of winter. The police used to block off the highway and let people sled down the big hill from the top of Swan Street at Studdiford Street, traveling right into and across the highway. It’s still good to take time out to be with family during the holidays, passing on the tradition of reaching out to each other at least once per year. So, songs evoking memories of family, snow, and sledding or ice skating, are the ones I enjoy the most now.

My family household growing up was filled with music much of the time, and especially for the holidays. I remember the classics from recording stars like Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams. I believe my favorite songs from the past were “White Christmas,” “The Christmas Song” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.” I think my favorite song now is the “The Christmas Song” by Mel Torme, which Nat King Cole was famous for, but there is also a good recorded version by Mel Torme himself. A close second would be Lou Rawls’ Bluesy version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” followed by the classics, “White Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas.”

Gary Cohen

The Back Porch Jugband

“Run Run Rudolph”

For me, the go-to albums every Christmas season since 2004 have been “James Taylor: A Christmas Album” and “James Taylor at Christmas.”  James Taylor has always provided the soundtrack for my life, and his mellow and meaningful interpretations of holiday standards are exemplary. If you are a James Taylor fanatic, his interpretations are definitive.

We will post reminiscences and reflections from other musicians soon. We hope to see you at Havana!