I’ve written here before in THIS post about attending the annual Christmas concerts by the combined choirs of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey from about the years 1969 through 1988. It was a wonderful annual tradition that I still remember fondly, “Christmas in Carol and Song,” which combined music for the season that’s rarely heard as well as familiar carols with readings from the appropriate parts of the Bible.
One thing that helps me remember it is a cassette tape I made of music from those concerts, the source being a variety of tapes and an old-fashioned LP record borrowed from two friends who were longtime participants in the choirs. I did that in the mid 1980s, and played the cassette annually in my car when Ellen and I were on the way to visit our families for the holidays.
Now cassettes are a dead medium, and when I traded in my 1994 Honda this fall for a new Insight, there went my cassette player. In fact, the sound system had broken earlier in the year anyway. For Christmas I asked Ellen to get me an iPod, as my new Honda has an iPod dock. We exchanged gifts a few days ago, and I’ve loaded my favorite Christmas music on it, except for that Kirkpatrick tape, which would involve a lot more effort. But, this morning I succeeded in getting it onto my computer, playing it through an old cassette player into Roxio’s CD Spin Doctor, setting it up into separate tracks, and importing it into iTunes. The sound quality isn’t great, but good enough.
I don’t know who owns the rights to this music, I’m sure Rutgers would claim to, and I don’t want to infringe on anyone’s copyright, but I thought I might get away with placing two small excerpts here. First is the Rutgers Glee Club singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,”, the second is the Reverend Robert Tanksley reading the “Fra Giovanni Letter.” This is the same text that I hand-lettered in the previous post linked above. If you don’t know it, you might like to. The text recording is from 1978, the song from somewhere between ’70 and ’78.
I’m glad to have this particular musical holiday tradition back. Hope you have some of your own!