Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 2011 Legion Christmas Concert


On Christmas seasons past I’ve waxed poetic about the school concerts I was part of as a kid, posted reader favorites and taken you on a cross country winter tour.

This year, I wanted a Concert with a definite Canadian theme.

Maybe just because that wasn’t reflected in any of the seasonal specials offered by our nation’s broadcasters via Russell Peters, Justin Bieber or even the folks at CBC tasked at keeping the home fires burning.

Kevin O’Leary as “Scrooge”! Srsly? Is that merely a lame joke or just more pointless cross-and-self-promotion?

Thing is, Canadians feel a certain ownership of Christmas. We’ve got the snow and the trees and both official North Poles (geographic and magnetic). Our immigrant population has embedded the Christmas traditions of every single country of the world.

Both the White House and Buckingham Palace officially import our chocolates and candy for the season. We send New York’s Rockefeller Centre its tree. And without ex-pat Canadian writers most Christmas parties would roll away the shrimp tray at sunset in LA.

We began celebrating Christmas 200 years before there was a Charles Dickens to codify the traditions and 300 before Coke rebranded Santa.

In 1643, Jesuit Missionary Jean de Brebeuf penned one of the first Christmas carols and the first written in the language of the Huron/Wendet people he was trying to convert.

The monk was martyred a short time later by the Iriquois, but his carol lived on to be translated into English in 1926. Now sung in many languages in many churches it reflects both Christian and Aboriginal spirituality…

“Twas in the moon of wintertime when all the birds had fled
That mighty Gitchi Manitou sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim and wondering hunters heard the hymn, Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born, in excelsis gloria”

The best selling Christmas album this season is by Canadian Michael Buble, arranged and produced by fellow Canadian David Foster. Among its tunes is “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” by Broadway Composer Meredith Willson.

“There’s a tree in the Grand Hotel and one in the park as well…”

And a lot of people claim Willson wrote those words while vacationing in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia where he stayed at the Grand Hotel which had a tree in the lobby and where his room overlooked another decorated tree in Frost Park across the street.

Further proof of our special connection to Christmas.

And to close, a brand new Christmas song by Sarah McLachlan and the students of her Vancouver Music School. I have a feeling this will be a seasonal tradition by next year.

Christmas in Canada. The Giving never stops.


Anonymous said...

You missed "Santa's Village" in Bracebridge, Ontario; Santa's summer home as it is at the 45th parallel, halfway to the north pole.

Anonymous said...'s actually over at Charlevoix Michigan...45th parallel is correct, just wrong country...