In late 1952, my father ordered one of the first reel to reel tape recorders to be offered for home sale, a Berlant Concertone. The first time he used it to record things at their new home was on Christmas of that year. These "Christmas, 1952" recordings have been much beloved by my family over the 56 years that have followed, and I thought that many people who enjoy this blog might find them enjoyable, too.
The main point of the recording was to capture my sister (their first child), who was just short of 2 1/2 years old at the time, singing Christmas carols. The first minute or so is mostly set up, then the fun begins. The tape starts with mom and dad testing out the machine, before Marcia enters the room. She is VERY interested in this new piece of equipment, which she's clearly never seen before. Rather than answer her repeated question ("what is it?"), she is requested to sing "Away in a Manger", which she does, with mom playing.
After having a listen, it's time for more three more songs. Dad briefly takes over the piano for the second tune, but since Marcia wants to look at him while singing, he turns it back over to mom for the rest of the songs, including the final one of this set, "Silent Night" (or "Silent Nigh-Ight", as my mom used to call this version - she also liked the line "Round Yon Purpelin...").
Later in the day, after a visit from the grandparents, five more carols are tackled, including some which had already been sung. By the second version of "Deck the Halls", Marcia is starting to interrupt the song to comment on gifts just received, and mom and dad are both suddenly doing a bit of "directing", at which point Marcia announces that she's done.
Although we're clearly listening to a very young child singing throughout, I've always gotten a kick out of this 2 1/2 year old's knowledge of the words to these songs, and her ability to find the pitch of these songs and to stay closer to "in key" than out.
The fourth track is from another Christmas recording, undated but I'm guessing (based on Marcia's voice) to be from perhaps two years later. This one features our dad, again playing piano for "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". I really enjoy "Hey, nobody's playin' the piano", as well as the moment when the piano playing does start, and she swings up to the correct note, which in this case is the more challanging (for a small child, anyway) fifth on the scale.
(Some of you may also remember my posting, to the original 365 days project, of another recording featuring my sister, "Marcia and Robin".)
I hope you enjoy these recordings. I hope to upload a number of other favorite (non-family) Christmas recordings to my blog, in the next week or so.
(Note: My brother and sister agreed to the sharing of these tracks as long as I include a statement that our family owns the rights to these recordings.)