THE STORY OF THE SONGS
A Snowflake Named Jake -- Ralph composed this song over a decade ago about a heroic snowflake that saves Christmas. In the original, Jake sacrifices himself by being run over by Santa’s sleigh. Guy Parker and I thought this was a little dark, so we changed it so that Jake and his “friends” lifted up the sleigh. Guy also was inspired by the idea of a snowflake being “cool”. This led to the jazzy, blues sound which makes the song so fun.
I Know This Place So Well -- Ralph created this beautiful piece of music for a Holiday Church service. Possessing the feeling of classic songs like “The First Noel”, Guy added a modern twist, retained the solemnity of the song, and brought out its great harmonies.
Send Out A Letter --Upbeat and sassy, this song was concocted when Ralph taught music in an elementary school as something for his students to sing. We added the “Children’s Choir” to keep that feeling, and then updated the lyrics to make it specifically about writing a letter to Santa.
Hear The Christmas Bells -- This song was composed with such a difficult vocal line, designed to sound-- of course -- like Christmas Bells, that I was concerned. Guy, however, envisioned it as a jazz song, at which point, I heard it as a duet. With the recruitment of the VERY talented Helene A. Masiko, it became a piece in the style of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, though not as suggestive.
Country Christmas -- The reason for this entire album. Ralph came to me with this in November of 2011, and wanted me to record it. Though I am hardly what you would call a country singer, I just adored the song, and now with the harmonica part added by the amazing Rob Paparozzi, it is the very essence of a country song.
Have A Very Merry -- This was a late entry into the album. Originally, Ralph wrote a new piece called “The Lights Of Christmas”, but we ran into a few problems. So I pulled this from our “back-up” folder. Once Guy and I started to work on it, it took off. The counter-point is great fun, and it really shows off the Ralph’s classic training as a musician.
Come to The Manger -- This has been one of my favorites since the start. Full and robust with a soaring melody, it needed very little to make it fly-- right to your heart. It is truly a pleasure to sing it, every time.
Ave Maria -- A chance to show off my operatic training! Ralph originally wrote this song for his wife, renowned opera singer, Linda Heimall. In fact, Ralph claims this song is why she married him. The song is so strong that Guy kept it simple, with piano and cello played by the gifted Noah Hoffeld.
The Magic Of Christmas -- Our title song. This was written by Ralph FOR this album. With a career as a magician for almost 40 years, I suggested that it was great idea for a song, and Ralph came to me with this wonderful piece. With backup vocals by Jes Loren, Kat Mullen, and the trombone playing of Michael Boscarino, the song is truly magical indeed.
Sparky The Elf -- Ralph has STILL never told me his inspiration for a song about an elf struck by lightning who becomes a living battery. Or how he uses his abilities to light the tree in Christmas-town Square. Even so, we had a lot of fun with this, and ALL of the voices (including Sparky) were done by me. Though, I’ll admit we had to use digital effects to “speed” me a little.
Who’s That? -- I believe you can’t go wrong with a simple “answer” song. Though Ralph didn’t see it as a serious addition, I knew from the day I first held the sheet music in my hand that we had to do it. Guy fashioned the song to sound like a children’s band playing the music (Personally, I imagine an elf band).
On The Wings Of Angels -- This song started life as a Mother’s day song Ralph composed for one of the churches where he played organ. It was rewritten to be song about “my savior’s love”, which was better, but still not the song I knew it could be. Guy and I spent several days rewriting and refining the lyrics into a song about a mystical experience on a mountaintop, with angelic music coming through the air. With piano and cello, it became the perfect finale for the album.