Several years ago I did a Christmas CD called "North Country Christmas,"
with songs and tunes of the Northern part of New York State. For those who
want a good choir piece, I composed a song called "Mary's Song," in effect the
Annunciation, put into verse, at the request of the pastor of our Plattsburgh
Presbyterian church, and used "Planxty Irwin" as the tune. I played hammered
dulcimer and a folk singer friend, Marne O'Shae, sang the song for the CD. Our
choir loves it and does it.
I also included "il Est Ne," a French carol, in French, English and in
Mohawk, which I learned from a friend on the Akwesasne Mohawk reservation not
far from here.
"Skating at Reber" comes from an 1896 poem about family skating in a small town
of Reber, NY. One little known Christmas song, a favorite of President Teddy
Roosevelt, is "Christmas on the Sea," written by H. Butterworth in 1883, with
a tune by a Civil War composer whose name I don't have with me. It is sung
annually at Christmastime by his Oyster Bay, NY, church near Teddy's home at
Sagamore Hill. I have a Vermont version of "Cherry Tree Carol," and of course
"Miss Fogarty's Christmas Cake," in Irish dialect, sung here 100 years ago,
written in 1882 by the Pennsylvania composer, Charles Frank Horn. As any good
librarian would do, I have researched all the songs and tunes, and connected
them, if possible, with our North Country. I also did "John Norton's
Christmas," an Adirondack theme of the trapper's Christmas, where he says:
"Touch hands, touch hands this Christmas Day, Touch hands, touch hands with
those that stay," before it is too late.
I played hammered dulcimer, mandolin, guitar, and a few other instruments on
the CD. I did "Carol of the Bells," "St. Basil's Hymn," and several other
Christmas and winter tunes. It is a very popular CD in our area. (Get them
while you can! I will be 83 on January 24th.)
If interested, I offer the "North Country Christmas" for $15 payable to Stan
Ransom, tax and postage included. Include your mailing address.
Stan Ransom, the Connecticut Peddler (also Director, Plattsburgh Public Library)
35 Iowa Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12903
toll free 1-800-277-7695 (you can call me and send the check along later)
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