Holiday Memes? Bah! Humbug!

So our glorious Inside the Arts leader Drew McManus laid down a challenge of a Holiday Extremes Meme. Now, I think if you are a musician and can only name two of four good holiday concerts and one of the two (of four) worst concerts you name involves YOU performing, it isn’t quite fair to those of us who are non-musicians!

I have been to fewer holiday concerts than Drew, though I do remember the Christmas cantatas of my youth when the Catholic and Presbyterian congregations of my small community would come together so there would be enough people for a decent size choir.

One of my favorite Christmas music memories though was when I lived in Florida. There was a radio station in Tampa at the time which started playing Christmas music for hours on end starting Christmas Eve. There were some really great songs there that I had never heard before. You would go from Bing Crosby to “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and then back to some choir softly singing.

That was when I heard the Bob Rivers’ classic, “I Am Santa Claus”

I have great memories of driving up to my sister’s house at 5 am Christmas morning listening to the music. Unfortunately, there was a year of new management and they stopped that practice.

However, in the spirit of offering new songs for the season, I wanted to turn people on to one. Don’t be fooled by the band name, Hoots and Hellmouth, or the title, A Song for Solstice, I am not trying to undermine the religious nature of the holiday. It is a nice song for the season without being cloying. The music comes courtesy of public radio station, WXPN’s 2008 12 Days of Christmas where they offered 12 free downloads of holiday music from local artists.

A Song for Solstice was smack in the middle at Day 6. If you want to check out other alternative holiday songs, scroll around on the page. I admit to being a sentimental sucker for #4 Dan May’s “Christmas in My Hometown.”

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker ( website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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