Crooning at Christmastime · 28 December 2013

As maddening as it is to hear Christmas tunes on the radio for what seems like months on end, I love listening to the old crooners sing the classic tunes. They take me back to my childhood when my Dad would sing along.

I love to listen to my Dad sing. Whether it is in the car listening to him sing with the radio or standing beside him listening to him sing church hymns, I love hearing and feeling his deep rich baritone voice. He always downplays his voice, but he croons like the old timers. It does not matter what songs they are – O Little Town of Bethlehem, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, or White Christmas – when Dad sings, I would rather listen than sing along.

As far as I know, Dad never had any voice training. He was not in choir and he does not play a musical instrument. But he has always sung loud and proud.

Dad has always sung the beloved church hymns like he was part of a choir. He has never been overpowering, but fits his voice with however many people are in the church. I doubt he even knows that others hear his voice as beautiful. He just sings to the Lord.

I am not sure he even realizes the power of his voice even after singing a solo a couple years ago.

Dad was convinced to sing My Way as part of my brother’s in-laws’ Christmas Eve party. They had a karaoke machine hooked up and people were singing all sorts of crazy songs. After he was finally convinced to sing, Dad’s rendition of My Way brought down the house. Or at least it made my Mom and brother cry. Oh sure, Dad had a few stumbles, but he sounded great. Like he had been crooning on the stage all his life.

Which brings me back to Christmas tunes.

I like to sing along with those old crooners too. Just like my father before me. But I do not have that deep resonant baritone voice that Dad has. When I sing along with Bing Crosby, nobody stops what they are doing to listen. Not like we used to do when White Christmas came on the radio and Dad sang along.

I remember hearing Dad hit those low notes with Crosby and thinking it was such a treat to hear two great singers. To this day, when I hear great crooners, I can hear Dad singing along with them. (Especially, if we are in the same place together, because he always sings along.)

In some ways it has been a long couple months listening to Christmas tunes on the radio. But it other ways, it is sort of sad thinking that they all end on Christmas day. Still, even though I will not hear Bing Crosby singing White Christmas for another year, or get taken back to those childhood days listening to Dad singing, I am thankful that in my memory and in person I can still hear Dad croon along with the greats.

© 2013 Michael T. Miyoshi

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