Even though Christmas decorations had long been packed away, the sock-footed members of the Rochester Boy’s Choir’s touring and concert groups were singing Christmas carols at Asbury United Methodist Church on a March evening.
Their audience in the mostly empty church was a few people clustered around recording equipment. Upon the direction of director/conductor David A. Klement, the choir members had kicked off their shoes to ensure that no noise from their feet was picked up by the sensitive equipment.
The recording session was part of the Christ in Christmas Initiative, which several local parishioners have been spearheading to counteract the secularization of Christmas carols. To do so, the group has recorded the CD “Let Us Adore Him,” which features the local Celtic and folk duo The Dady Brothers, the Newman Community Choir at the State University of New York College at Geneseo and the Rochester Boy’s Choir.
Tucker Wilson, director of the Christ in Christmas Initiative and a member of St. Joseph Parish in Penfield, explained that he wanted to find a way to teach the next generation traditional Christian Christmas carols. He said he was motivated by the realization that children are not singing Christian carols in public schools as frequently as they used to. He contends Christian carols also are less frequently played on seasonal radio stations than secular carols are played.
“You don’t hear this music on the radio,” Wilson said. “You don’t hear these songs.”
The CD includes “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” “Adeste Fidelis/Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming,” “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “Oh Holy Night,” “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” “I Saw Three Ships,” “The Christ Child’s Lullaby,” “The First Noel,” “Children, Go Where I Send Thee,” “Silent Night,” “On That Day” and “Joy to the World.”
Organizers of the Christ in Christmas Initiative plan to partner with radio stations and such Christian service organizations as Knights of Columbus councils to sell the CD as a fundraiser. The Christ in Christmas Initiative will make a $2 contribution for each CD sale to the organization that generated the sale.
The CD also is ready for mailing and is priced at $10 so that it may be given as a gift to friends and family.
“We hope to sell this nationwide in the form of a Christmas card,” said John Dady, a parishioner of Rochester’s Cathedral Community who is one half of The Dady Brothers duo.
The Dady Brothers performed several songs on the album and added instrumental tracks to several of the choir performances using such instruments as violin, banjo, mandolin, guitars, tin whistle, Irish uilleann pipes and bodhran.
“John and I are able to bring some of our style to it,” said Joe Dady, a member of St. Matthew in Livonia and the other member of The Dady Brothers.
Though most of the songs are Christmas classics, the CD includes “On That Day” as an example of a contemporary song. The song was written by Mary Van Houten, SUNY Geneseo’s Newman Community music minister.
The Dady Brothers heard the Newman Community choir perform at St. Matthew Parish and invited the group to participate in the project. About 16 members of the choir recorded their songs in early February at St. Mary Church in Geneseo. One piece was recorded a capella, and the others featured piano accompaniment.
Van Houten said though none of her choir members are music majors, all were very familiar with the Christmas carols that they performed.
“They are pretty savvy and pretty spiritual to begin with,” she said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Lyrics and histories of each song are available for free download at www.babyjesusmusic.com to encourage individuals and families to sing along with the recording. CDs may be purchased through the Web site or from groups selling them as a fundraiser. Details are available by contacting Don Sharpstene at 585-233-9584 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.