The Amend Corner

Sing we now of Christmas

By Don Amend
Posted 12/21/21

Here we are, in the final countdown to Christmas.

If you were anywhere near my house, you would be well aware of that — or at least you would be if I were free to play my collection of …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in
The Amend Corner

Sing we now of Christmas


Here we are, in the final countdown to Christmas.

If you were anywhere near my house, you would be well aware of that — or at least you would be if I were free to play my collection of Christmas music at my preferred volume, that is, loud.

I can’t always do that. Sometimes the other resident of my personal auditorium finds the sound oppressive and asks me to turn it down. This usually occurs when she is seated at our desktop computer, which is where the sound comes from. I, on the other hand, am usually seated at least 6 feet from the speakers, and maybe clear across the room. From that distance, I can control the volume with my iPad or my iPhone, and if she asks me to lower the volume, I can grant her wish quickly.

Actually, there is another limit to my love of volume, which has to do with my age. I passed my decade as a teenager nearly three-score years ago. And even when I was 17 or 18, I wasn’t fond of music loud enough to loosen coal from the seams in the mines near Gillette. I was exposed to enough of such music during the Homecoming dances, junior proms and various other dances I had to chaperone during my 33 years as a teacher of adolescent human beings. In one particular instance, following an evening with a band from Salt Lake City, I remember my ears didn’t stop ringing until the Tuesday following the event. By that time I was beginning to think my hearing was permanently damaged, but it improved considerably on Wednesday and was back to normal on Thursday.

But back to Christmas music, which is what this essay is about, I think.

I have a split personality when it comes to recorded music. My collection of Christmas music is entirely rooted in Century 20, but the way I listen to it is straight out of Century 21. Even though I have acquired much of this music digitally, either from the Apple music store or on compact discs, nearly all of this music was originally available on vinyl records, many of which still fill several spaces in our house. I have spent hours translating these recordings into digital form and loading them into my computer, where I can easily locate and play them.

Now I know there are people out there who will question and even condemn me for this practice. On several occasions I have been told that digitizing this music ruins the music, and it sounds better when played from a vinyl record than from a digital file. Well, I have not found this to be true. I find the music emitted from my computer much nicer to listen to than from a record — especially a record that has been played many times on a spinning turntable and especially since I have usually been able to minimize or even eliminate the crackles and pops that used to bother me when I listened to a vinyl record.

So what have I been listening to this month that has put me in the proper state of mind for this week’s holiday? Well, I started the playlist with one of my favorite vocalists, who wished me and my family a very happy Christmas season and followed up by delivering a selection of 19 Christmas songs, some sacred, some secular. He was joined by his daughter for one number. The singer was Nat “King” Cole, a man who died more than 50 years ago. His duet with his daughter, who also died a few years ago, was created through the magic of digital recording. For me, this was the perfect way to get myself into the spirit of Christmas.

If that wasn’t enough artists of the past, I followed Mr. Cole with a recording by an old country singer, Eddy Arnold, who sang a song that approached the season from another angle. “Will Santy Come to Shanty Town” reminds me of those who don’t have the advantages I have enjoyed in my life.

In addition, Christmas played in several styles of jazz has come through my speakers, as did one album of carols played as soul. Some of the artists I have listened to are well known (at least to old guys like me) and some you may never have heard of. As you probably would guess, the files on my Apple include musical artistry from several centuries of Yuletide singing, and taken all together, brings a whole world of sounds that remind me of the joy of the season. 

I hope you all find that same joy this week.  

Merry Christmas and happy holidays.

The Amend Corner