Local Angels Redux
You've got to love a holiday that produces its own fresh stream of music every year. And if that was your only standard by which to measure the significance of a celebratory event, then Christmas would win, hands down. And although much of what is played on the radio at Christmas is not exactly religious in nature (Jingle Bells performed by barking dogs comes to mind), there is something deeply soulful and mysterious about a time of year that so profoundly puts the "muse" in music.
A few years ago, here at New Hampshire Magazine, we produced an full-length CD of original holiday songs by Granite State performers titled "Local Angels." The music on that disc ranged from gospel blues to New Age chants to wordless classical piano and guitar, but each recording virtually ached with the nostalgic bliss and celestial grace that we associate with Christmas.
The short run of CDs sold out (except for a few that I have tucked away). The profits provided a decent contribution to a worthy charity named "Friends for Forgotten Children" that collects toys and food to distribute to families in need during the holidays. This was back in 2004, before the big "do-it-yourself" craze began, but Friends for Forgotten Children was very much a DIY charity. It was started and run by a woman named Eleanor Still who had a job and a house but really wasn't that much better off than many of the families she was assisting. She died early that same year and passed the work along to some of the volunteers who had assisted along the way. Her group of "Friends" is still around and, I'm sure, still doing the good work that she got started.
The CD we made was pretty much a DIY project, too, and we got a little insight into what it takes to produce and promote and sell such a thing. Since then, we've stuck to magazine publishing and putting our music online.
And now, to spread a little Christmas cheer, we're going to put the original Local Angels CD online for the month of December. Give it a listen by clicking here – you are welcome to spread the word. It's sweet, powerful music, timeless as holiday tunes ought to be and a fine introduction to some wonderful local artists, most of whom are still performing.
But to make it even more special and appropriate to the season, we're inviting you to post your own holiday songs – originals or classics. Even folks who can't carry a tune in a bucket can be found singing at this time of year. So just grab a video of yourself, your family and friends, your a capella choir or glee club (or even your barking dogs) and submit it. Be creative. Find complete instructions on the Local Angels article.
The result will be a bit like using the Internet to go caroling across the state. I like to think of it as a virtual choir of "local angels." Either way, it's certainly a chance to get into the DIY spirit of the season for our most musical (and magical) of holidays.
So have fun and post as many songs as you like.
We've got some great gifts for our favorites.