The Gift of Music

You may have noticed our latest foray into multimedia: our Cubicle Concerts series, mentioned on our “About” page (in October) or on house ads, and perhaps you’ve even taken a few minutes to watch and listen to a few of them. I hope so. They are really a labor of love, done for no particular reason besides our joy in sharing the talents of local musical artists.

The project isn’t really my doing, though it’s the kind of thing I might have done if I’d thought of it first. That honor goes to Bill Burke from our custom publishing team. He’s an avid fan of music, from near and far, and also a decent videographer, so he’s the guy in charge.

Another idea he had was to ask the performers to each provide us with one holiday or Christmas song, which we’ve recorded and banked until this month. We’ll post a special Holiday Cantata version of the Cubicle Concerts (should be up by now at so you can get into the hyper-local spirit of the season.

The project does remind me of a wild idea I had about 16 years ago when we produced an entire album of music devoted to the holiday season with a mix of carols, solstice chants and original music by local performers. Some of the artists are pretty famous (Bill Staines and the Shaw Brothers) and some have now departed (like sainted R&B man Mighty Sam McClain and award-winning Celtic trio Reganta), but IMHO every track is a classic and the entire CD, named “Local Angels,” has remained one of my favorites to play during the season’s festivities.

My art director from the time, Susan Laughlin (still our roving food editor), helped design the CD cover, we got Gerry Putnam of the excellent Cedarhouse Sound studio in North Sutton to do the mastering, and voilà, I was a record producer. Proceeds went to help a sweet local charity, Friends of Forgotten Children, that provides gifts for needy kids.

We sold quite a few, as I recall, and I kept a handful — thinking that I would one day bestow them upon friends and my kids when they had their own households in which to celebrate the holidays. What I didn’t envision would be the near-complete conversion of the next generation to music streaming. A physical CD, to many in the post-boomer generation, is simply an anachronism, like a dial telephone.

So I’ve got a couple of spare copies of “Local Angels,” and to help me get into my own personal holiday groove, I want to give them away. I can’t give an actual physical gift to all of our readers, but not everyone would want one of these anyway. If you would like one, all you need to do is ask. Just send me, by the ancient technique now known as “snail mail,” a handwritten note requesting one (by December 14).

If I get more notes than I have CDs, I’ll make choices based on the sincerity of the note, the handwriting of the sender, or maybe even the selection of stationery.

For the rest (and to be honest, I don’t expect to get a lot of handwritten notes in this day of digital note passing) I may have enough NH Magazine odds and ends to send everyone something, but I’ll at least post a link to a streaming version of the whole CD online. Below is the cover and my mailing address, so start writing. It will be good practice for all the thank-you notes you’ll be penning to grandparents after you open those presents under the tree.

Categories: Editor’s Note