12 Songs Holiday Project

By - Dec 24th, 2011 04:00 am

tcd_12songs_300x100BANNERYour friends at TCD and WMSE couldn’t be more tickled to give this holiday gift to you, our readers and listeners. This is the 12 Songs Holiday Project, the brainchild of a couple of crazy independent media outlets and a dozen local artists who share two things in common: a love for local music and a true desire to show our appreciation to you this season.

The best part is, you can download an MP3 of each song to keep – for free! But wait, that’s not the only best part! Our dear friend Dwellephant made CD cover art just for you, too.

New songs will be posted throughout the week, so check back often or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be alerted whenever there’s a new song. Before New Years, we will post the coup de grace: A mash-up mix of all the artists covering “Auld Lang Syne.” It’s probably the only time you’ll ever hear Stas Venglevski, Milwaukee Choral Artists, Invade Rome, Lisa Gatewood, Philomusica String Quartet, Frank Almond and Tom Strini, Melissa Czarnik and the Eric Mire Band, Peter Mac, 1913, Pezzettino, The Celebrated Workingman and Joel Kopischke on one recording.

Oh! There’s one more best part. You can hear all these songs on Frontier Radio 91.7 WMSE and on Alverno Inferno Free Radio, Alverno College’s Internet radio station.

Kind of great, we’re really excited. Hope you are too, and that you have a warm and wonderful holiday.

Download cover art: Front and Back (right-click and save)

Everyone: “Auld Lang Syne”

Auld Lang SyneIt seems an appropriate finish to a great Milwaukee musical adventure. Each of our 12 artists also recorded their own renditions of “Auld Lang Syne”, and we’ve mashed them into three minutes of pure year-end entertainment. We’re pretty confident you’ll not see Frank Almond and the Celebrated Workingman together in one video anytime again soon, though we all had so much fun with this collaboration that you just never know…—Jon Anne Willow  


Want the tracks from this video? Right-click an artist’s name for a FREE download of the MP3!

Philomusica Quartet Milwaukee Choral Artists
Celebrated Workingman w/Orangutan! Peter Mac (unavailable)
Pezzettino Lisa Gatewood
1913 Melissa Czarnik/Eric Mire Band
Frank Almond Invade Rome
Stas Venglevski Joel Kopischke w/Stas Venglevski

Peter Mac: “We Three Kings”

PeterMac125Guitarist Peter Mac’s influences include the Beatles, Sting, Pat Metheny, George Benson and, most of all, Jimi Hendrix. Mac is a pro’s pro. He’s recorded hundreds and TV and radio spots and has opened for the likes of Kenny Loggins, Dave Koz, Tower of Power, the late Danny Gatton, Washington, the late Jeff Healey, Eddie Money, Kansas, Doc Severinsen, Tim Wiesburg, Jeff Lorber, The O’Jays, Al Jarreau, and most recently King’s X, Adrian Belew and Robin Trower! We at TCD and WMSE are thrilled that Peter contributed his unique take on “We Three Kings” to our holiday song project.—Tom Strini

“We Three Kings” (right-click to download)


1913: “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen”

1913-125The 1913 duo is the unique pairing of a cellist and a percussionist. Janet Schiff and Brian Kreuziger musically push through the boundaries of time, tradition and culture. Witnesses describe 1913 as innovative, image and thought-provoking, genre-challenging, clever, strong, and hypnotic. Through technology the cello multiplies infinite layers over steady and complex percussion.WMSE and TCD are pleased to offer what no other broadcast or web service in the world can this holiday season: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” rendered on cello and tablas.—Tom Strini God Rest Ye, Merry Gentleman” (right-click to download)

Joel Kopischke: “O Festivus”

Joel KopischkeJoel Kopischke’s humorous holiday release I Got Yule Babe has been heard on XM Radio, Direct TV, the Dr. Demento radio show and other venues across the globe, proving there’s no accounting for some people’s taste. Joel contributed his own Festivus Carol, to honor the alternative holiday created by the character of George Costanza’s cranky father on Seinfeld.Joel, a Milwaukee-area native, has worked as a writer, director and performer for the Milwaukee Symphony, Skylight Opera, First Stage Milwaukee, Melody Top and other groups. We’re honored to include Joel in this TCD/WMSE project.—Tom Strini
“O Festivus”
(right-click to download)

Celebrated Workingman and Orangutan!
“No More Christmas Suicide (Don’t Make Baby Jesus Cry)

Celebrated WorkingmanEver the merry prankster of the local rock scene,The Celebrated Workingman’s Mark Waldoch teams up for the 12 Songs Holiday Project with the sprawling and vastly creative Orangutan! a Rochester, MN-based collective of musicians and artists connected by a thread of creative energy, rhythmic vibrations and sheer lunacy.For this project, the group wrote and recorded “No More Christmas Suicide (Don’t Make Baby Jesus Cry)”, a funky and (believe it or not) fun little number you’re sure to add to your permanent holiday music collection.—Tom Strini
“No More Christmas Suicide” (right-click to download- LINK FIXED!)

Frank Almond and Tom Strini: “What Child Is This?”

Frank AlmondViolinist Frank Almond is the concertmaster of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, director of the Frankly Music chamber series and a soloist and recitalist with international credits. He plays the magnificent Lipinski Stradivarius. Frank generously agreed to play “What Child Is This?” with TCD Culture Editor Tom Strini for the 12 Songs Holiday Project.It’s not as far-fetched as it seems. Strini, who also wrote the arrangement, has a B.Mus. in Theory and Composition and a master’s in classical guitar. For Strini, getting to play music with Frank Almond is the greatest Christmas present ever. —Tom Strini

“What Child Is This?” (right-click to download)

Melissa Czarnik and the Eric Mire Band: “O Come All Ye Faithful”

Czarnik and the Eric Mire BandPoet/emcee Melissa Czarnik often performs live with the Eric Mire Band, a jazz-hip hop group, to blend Czarnik’s heartfelt and punchy lyrics with the bands funky and soulful rhythms. They were partners in our holiday song project, and the result is “O Come All Ye Faithful” as it’s never been heard before.

The band comprises guitarist Eric Mire on guitar, Chip Baily (drums), Brad Bloom (sax), Don Bradshaw (Latin percussion) and Maurice Cotton (keys/vocals). Both Czarnik and the Eric Mire Band have CDs available through iTunes and CDBaby. —Tom Strini
“O Come All Ye Faithful” (right-click to download)

Pezzetino: “Salve”

PezzettinoMargaret Stutt, known professionally as Pezzettino, trained on classical piano at a local convent until age 12, when she quit because she didn’t like the pressure of competition. She has a BA in Art History and MA in Oriental Medicine. At age 25 she called off an engagement, joined a band and taught herself how to play her father’s accordion. From there, the “songs just began pouring out.” She is rapidly gaining a national following as a singer-songwriter. She wrote one for us. TCD and WMSE are proud to premiere Pezzettino’s intimate and touching “Salve.” —Tom Strini

“Salve” (right-click to download)

Philomusica Quartet: “Angels We Have Heard On High”

Philomusica QuartetViolinists Alexander Mandl and Jeanyi Kim, violist Nathan Hackett and cellist Adrien Zitoun did not need to form the Philomusica Quartet in the fall of 2008, as a group in residence at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Mandl is a busy free-lancer and teacher. The other three are full-time members of the Milwaukee Symphony. “Philomusica” means “love of music,” which is why they did it anyway. You can hear the love they put into “Angels We Have Heard on High,” just for TCD and WMSE. —Tom Strini

“Angels We Have Heard On High” (right-click to download)

Invade Rome: “O Holy Night”

InvadeRome125Where else but TCD/WMSE you gonna hear a furious rock version of “O Holy Night”? Here it is, courtesy of Invade Rome, comprising Chris Vos, Brian Vos and Justin Krol. The band, founded in 2003, survived many hardships, grueling tour schedules and even a name change to put together its most recent release, Light Eyed & Villainous. The guys refuse “to be pigeonholed as simply stoner-rock” and spent the last two years “working very hard to develop its unique take on psychedelic rock n’ roll.” —Tom Strini
“O Holy Night” (right-click to download)

Lisa Gatewood: “This Christmas Eve”

LisaGatewood125Sad songs are Lisa Gatewood’s specialty. So, it’s not surprising that the contemporary folk singer-songwriter would compose a lonesome holiday lament. Smile through your tears at the debut of Lisa’s “This Christmas Eve,” written just for TCD and WMSE. Gatewood’s first album, I Read Salinger, is available through iTunes and CDBaby. Lisa and her Borrowed Band are at work on their second release, to be recorded live at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn. —Tom Strini

“This Christmas Eve” (right-click to download)

Stas Venglevski: “Away in a Manger”

Stas VenglevskiThat’s not just an accordion Stas Venglevski’s playing. It’s a bayan, a Russian button accordion with an impressive repertoire and a high-art tradition. Venglevski, who immigrated to Milwaukee in 1992, is a two-time winner of the national bayan competition in the Republic of Moldova, his home country. Stas holds a master’s degree from the Russian Academy of Music, Moscow, where he studied with Russian bayan legend Friedrich Lips. Enjoy Stas’ virtuoso bayan rave-up on “Away in a Manger.” —Tom Strini

“Away in a Manger” (right-click to download)

Milwaukee Choral Artists “Silent Night”

milwaukeechoralartists125Sharon Hansen founded the Milwaukee Choral Artists, a small choir of professional female singers, in 1998. The group quickly became Wisconsin’s leading vocal ensemble, a position that Hansen’s drive for perfection and the singers’ impeccable musicianship have maintained ever since. Hansen, director of choral activities at UWM, made this charming arrangement of “Silent Night” just for the TCD/WMSE 12 Songs Holiday Project.—Tom Strini
“Silent Night” (right-click to download)

0 thoughts on “12 Songs Holiday Project”

  1. Anonymous says:

    What a delightful way to count down to Christmas! Thank you for this
    and the gifts you send — everyday! Thallis Hoyt Drake

  2. Anonymous says:

    Dear Lisa Gatewood,
    I LOVED your song.
    Your pal,

  3. Anonymous says:

    Awesome–can’t wait to hear all the tunes!

  4. Anonymous says:

    The tunes are awesome. looking forward to the rest of them. Great idea! Great work!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Pezzettino, for such a beautiful song.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I’m really enjoying this inspired cross section of our eclectic music community. Wonderful idea, beautifully realized! Thanks TCD and all the artists who contributed.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for commenting everyone, and happy holidays. We’re so grateful to all of our artists and so pleased with the results. Thanks also to WMSE radio. Tune your dial to 91.7 fm as you run your holiday errands. Our songs will be in rotation there through the holidays.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I can’t get the “No More Christmas Suicide” song to download. It says the file doesn’t exist. Please double check that.


  9. Anonymous says:

    Okay, I see. The link is wrong. It’s supposed to be http://thirdcoastdigest.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/no-more-xmas-suicide.mp3 Please fix this on your site.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I obsessively love Celebrated Workingman and Orangutan!
    “No More Christmas Suicides (Don’t Make Baby Jesus Cry)!! Absolutely wonderful stuff. Everyone’s contributions were great. Can’t wait for the mash-up.

  11. Anonymous says:

    What a treat. Some ridiculous, some sublime and everything in between. Enjoy your NYE, everyone, and be safe.

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