Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals bring on the power of music and the season in their new epic collection, A Capella Holiday Classics. The word ‘classics’ takes on a greater meaning when the stirring voices melt together in traditional songs such as “Balulalow” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman”. Where goose bumps might be common with the cold nights and snowy weather, it’s not that often the joy of music can bring shivering emotional highs. The haunting voices and the spirited smiles, it’s evident that the voices behind these songs had just as fun recording as us listeners did listening.
There’s a reason that the Hallmark Channel churns out new holiday programming each year, and that audiences love hearing holiday music. It’s nostalgic and it connects us all in a way that gives us hope and optimism. The songs on this album (there are 33) is enough to keep you busy from the end of November all the way into December 31st. The songs that gripped me the most include the classic French Christmas song “Patapan”, “The First Noel” and “Winter In Manhattan”. Their voices bring a fresh energy and hallowed sonic blend to the table. It’s clear that as a community of listeners, we’ve heard these songs before, but it’s evident that Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals treat each track as if it were the first and last time ears will experience this majesty.
Their voices are crisp and, in a world where it’s often the more complicated and more layered the better, the selections on A Capella Holiday Classics remind the listener to slow down and relish in each word. I think they are triumphant in achieving greatness with these songs. Weaving together the traditional worldly-view with a compounding sound of light, love and leisure, Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals prove yet again the timelessness of a myriad of holiday songs.
New to me, and perhaps others are the tracks “Total Pulchra” and “Ubi Caritas”. These hymns and devotionals prove that even the most sacred of songs can ignite a hopeful flame. Sung in Latin, the tracks feel other worldly and airy. The bass parts are evident. I felt as though the high harmony voices blended together like a light shining through stained glass. So bright. So magnificent. Listening to these tracks with such a puny speaker system, I can’t imagine the emotional escape that transpires supposing these songs were live, at a cathedral or venue setting. I think adding the mix of these very traditional hymns feels like a Renaissance of sorts – with a simple reminder that the greatest instruments can indeed be just a group of voices. Whether you’re immersed in voices that make you feel like you’re back in time, or songs like “Frosty The Snowman” and “Jingle Bells” that make you giggle in the moment, Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals give the gift that keeps on giving – A Capella Holiday Classics is a marvelous album sure to delight girls and boys of all ages this holiday season.