I love Christmas as it’s such a special time of the year and what always makes it especially magical for me is the music. My family Christmases as a child were always musical, with me playing the piano and singing with my mum and sister, whilst my dad played the guitar, mouth organ and even the musical saw. This often all went on at the same time! The piece of music that really reminds me of this time is the beautiful Johnny Mathis classic When a Child is Born, which I will be singing this year at the RPO’s Christmas Cracker concert at Watford Colosseum on Tuesday 9 December.
The run up to Christmas these days tends to be a very busy time, often starting with a concert in my home town of Grimsby and then followed by my annual appearances with the RPO for their Christmas Cracker concerts, which this year we are excited to bring to Watford.
The Christmas Shopping
In and among work, I really enjoy Christmas shopping, although I often do it all on one mad day. This rush of shopping mania is always fuelled by the music that the shops and stores play, with tracks like It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year and Winter Wonderland bringing out the excitement of matching personal presents for friends and family.
After the Christmas Shopping
While shopping, it’s good to have a few Christmas treats along the way to keep you going, like mulled wine and mince pies. This is always best at one of the Christmas Markets where they often have bands playing traditional carols like Once in Royal David’s City and O Come All Ye Faithful. It certainly helps me to relax after the manic shop and it’s the traditional music that always makes me think of home and childhood.
The Christmas Party
Before Christmas, one of my oldest friends often has a party which is always a Christmas highlight. Every year, there are a lot of musicians there and the party invariably ends with a good old sing around the piano. The Twelve Days of Christmas is essential at these parties and this is a good rehearsal for me as this is the song we have the most fun with at the Christmas Cracker concerts. Fuelled by champagne, this is always a good way to have fun with friends at Christmas.
When I, like many others, finally reach Christmas Day with an overwhelming desire to fall in a heap, I love to listen to orchestral music on Christmas morning. Pieces like the Prelude to Hansel and Gretel by Humperdink and Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride are firm favourites and make the peeling of Brussels sprouts bearable and kick-start the festivities.
By Christmas evening I’m full of good food and wine, hoping for snow and relaxing by an open fire listening to the great American classic Christmas songs like Santa Baby and, of course, Baby It’s Cold Outside – the perfect songs to sit back, take a breather and perhaps steal a kiss under the mistletoe.
So that’s my Christmas by music, music that luckily for me is all part of the RPO’s Christmas Cracker concert at Watford Colosseum. I hope that you can come along and start Christmas in musical style!
Michael Dore performs in the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s Christmas Cracker on Tuesday 9 December at Watford Colosseum (7.30pm) and at Cadogan Hall, London, on Saturday 20 December (3.00pm & 7.30pm).