Musically, I grew up in the late ‘40s, 50s and 60s, so the holiday songs hard-wired into my brain are mostly from that period. My dad played his favorites on our “record player,” later a stereo, for as long as I can remember. He was a Big Band guy, came of age in the late 30’s, and loved Les Brown (I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm), Bing Crosby and Perry Como (I’ll Be Home for Christmas), Irving Berlin (White Christmas), and Andy Williams (It’s the most Wonderful Time of the Year), to name only a few. Because he liked those songs and I heard them a million times, I like them too.
In our family, the radio was always on, especially WNEW and WOR (John Gambling’s morning show). I loved it when Milton Berle played Christmas songs on his uke. I learned to harmonize from those radio songs. Later on, I sang hundreds of holiday songs in choirs and a cappella groups.
My absolute favorite holiday songs are: The Christmas Song (Mel Torme), Merry Christmas, Darling (The Carpenters), Baby, It’s Cold Outside, and O Holy Night.
Our choice this year, Hallelujah, is just a beautiful, rich song that feels a bit Christmas-y (or maybe religious-y) because of its biblical references (Samson & Delilah, David & Bathsheba). As Leonard Cohen said, “[The song] explains that many kinds of hallelujahs do exist, and all the perfect and broken hallelujahs have equal value.” I’d like to think that Lambertville people get that.
Laurie Vosburg and the Fa La La La La’s
“Deck the Halls”
Most of my family weekends growing up were spent with other large, musical families. I am one of five siblings who, including my parents, are musicians. My soon to be 90-year-old father can still pick out his favorite songs, play harmonica and keep impeccable rhythm, when most days his mind is a tad foggy. My mother and sister have been teaching the angels to play music for many years now, but the memories of our childhood music-filled weekends still ring strong. At any given time, friends and family would visit our farm house, most would bring an instrument, sing, tap their feet or play the spoons. Music would go into the night, sunrise was the cue for new beginnings and more music.
Music transcends all, it facilitates many emotions and brings people together. I can’t remember a time there wasn’t music in our house, and it was always live. My mother could whistle any song—you’d swear she was part canary! Back then, Pop played guitar as well, but his harmonica playing is his first love. He taught himself while he served in the US Army. Simple people, simple lives. Holidays were the best at our house! Christmas especially! Music was key and the focus of our day. We spent half the day at home, and the other at my aunt and uncles, with their nine children. Three sisters married three brothers, so all of us were pretty close. At one time or another we all did and still play music together. Our family reunions are stellar! Each year the younger family members perform on a pallet stage in the middle of my cousins’ farm… just like when we were kids. To watch my children continue on with the love of music and the connection they too have with family is truly amazing. Holiday music brings the warm and fuzzy out, from Rocking Round the Christmas Tree, Deck the Halls, River, and Winter Wonderland just to name a few warm my heart every time I hear or play them.
I know I can speak for the musicians I currently play with, that music brought us together, has gotten us through tough times, and keeps us pretty sane when life is too busy, especially at this wonderful time of year. I love the “warm fuzzy” feeling when we all get together and can just put aside this crazy world and sing, harmonize and play music together. See you on the flipside! Merry Christmas from all of us past and present band members! So fun to be a part of the Lambertville Historical Society CD!
— Laurie, Kevin, Ben, Vern, Mike L, Chris, Sher and my brother from another mother–JBKline
Both Sue and Laurie will perform at our 12/13 concert from 7:30-10:00 pm at The Birdhouse Center for the Arts, 7 N. Main Street, Lambertville.