Last week, a few minutes before volunteering for a parent rotation at my children’s school, I was speaking to one of the most wonderful educators I know. She became a dear friend over the course of the past four years since the time when my oldest son was a student in her class. All of the teachers at MK-8 are treasures and I’m Blessed to call Mrs. P my friend. Mrs. P happened to be walking through the hallway where I was a waiting and she spared a few moments to chat with me before beginning the school day.
Within our brief discussion, we talked about my situation with this website and YouTube. In her naturally gentle, supportive, and reassuring way, Mrs. P apologized and motioned with her foot, kicking the air in a subtle manner. I smiled and knew exactly what she was doing. A simple gesture conveyed great meaning and encouragement without any words. I acknowledged her wisdom with my nodding and those few seconds greeting Mrs. P made me feel a few feet taller.
I had been feeling uneasy over the course of the last few months and I had expressed my discontent with just covering other people’s music. The first closure of my YouTube channel was the warning. It made me think hard about my future. I sure got that KICK in the back side. I cried and my anguish poured out. And, once my tears dried and my emotions reset, I realized I had two choices. I had the choice to sulk and accept this fate or I could pursue a second option more suited to who I really am. I’ve written about this before, that as one door closes, other doors open. On June 4, 2012, I acted on my instincts and created lazarolivingdream.com.
Revisiting my past, my wife kicked me in the back side when she opened a YouTube channel for me on January 14, 2010. At that time, my wife knew I needed a big shove into the public forum and because of that, the music and my singing was the focus. But, somewhere along the line, the music became secondary and my writing took the forefront. It’s probably best to state that this is not as much of a miracle as it is a natural evolution in the course of events that is unfolding for my life. Not only do I now have the freedom to post any cover of pop music I’d like without YouTube yanking its leash, but I also have a clear direction for what is most meaningful for my future: my writing.
I’m still going to post covers of pop music that are important to me, but I don’t intend to keep up with the weekly schedule. I will continue to upload any new covers on Sunday mornings PST (GMT-8) as I did on YouTube. I don’t have a way to easily advertise to all of my friends from YouTube, but for all who visit my website, I’d encourage all to e-mail me at email@example.com so I can add your information to my growing list of family and friends who receive an occasional e-mail from me when I do have news to share.
Finally, coming full circle and reconvening at the start of this blog. The first cover originally posted on this website is “Christmas Waltz”. I would post covers of Christmas songs the whole year through, but I’m certain that my covers wouldn’t be as well received come summertime. LOL. I did title my Christmas music CD: For All Seasons. For All Seasons was produced in 2009. I truly feel the Spirit of Christmas within every moment. I live by the Spirit of Christmas. I’m happiest when I sing Christmas songs or when I listen to Christmas music. My children ask, “Why are you listening to Christmas music when it’s not Christmas time?” I joyfully hug them and kiss them and then I say, “It’s ALWAYS Christmas time for ME!”
The Carpenters … Karen Carpenter with the voice of an angel … and here I am singing in the style that she sang for this classic originally created for Frank Sinatra. I try, don’t I? Well, I hope you can at least appreciate my enthusiasm for singing this gleeful version of “The Christmas Waltz”!
"The Christmas Waltz" is a Christmas song that was written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne for Frank Sinatra, who recorded it in 1954 as the B-side of a new recording of "White Christmas", in 1957 for his album A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, and in 1968 for The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas.
Cahn recalls, "One day during a very hot spell in Los Angeles the phone rang and it was Jule Styne to say, 'Frank wants a Christmas song.'" Cahn resisted, explaining that any notion of attempting a holiday hit so closely on the heels of Irving Berlin's hugely successful "White Christmas" was "ridiculous", but Styne was emphatic. "Frank wants a Christmas song." The two met in Styne's apartment to begin work on the project, and Cahn asked the composer, "'Hey, Jule, has there ever been a Christmas waltz?' He said no. I said, 'Play that waltz of yours.' He did so," and Cahn began work on the lyrics of "The Christmas Waltz", which many other artists have also recorded. Referring to the line that goes, "And this song of mine, in three-quarter time," Cahn writes, "You'll notice there's an impure rhyme in that lyric, 'mine' and 'time'." He notes that another of his collaborators, Jimmy Van Heusen, wouldn't have let him get away with such an imperfection but that Styne wasn't quite so rigid.
For what would become the B-side of "White Christmas", Sinatra first recorded "The Christmas Waltz" with a chorus as well as an arrangement by Nelson Riddle on August 23, 1954. On July 16, 1957, Gordon Jenkins took over the arranging, and The Ralph Brewster Singers provided backing vocal on the recording for A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra. And on August 12, 1968, Riddle again provided arrangements, but it was The Jimmy Joyce Singers who lent their voices to the recording for The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas. In 1992 Mel Tormé made a recording of the song for his first-ever Christmas album, for which the liner notes indicate that "Mr. Cahn wrote a new full set of additional lyrics as a personal gift to Mel." There wasn't a version of the song that reached any of the various charts in Billboard magazine. However, until the 2003 holiday season when Harry Connick, Jr. reached number 26 with it on the Adult Contemporary chart during a two-week stay that began in the issue dated January 3, 2004.