A Collection of Christmas carols,
performed on piano by Mark Sorrells.
One frosty December night when I was a boy, my family began to hear a bustle outside. When my father opened the door, there were carolers at our bottom step. We all crowded forward, undaunted by the wintry chill, as carolers sang “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” Indelible memories, etched in my childhood. I can still feel the fresh, icy Texas air and remember the joy and wonder in our neighbors’ musical gift of the season.
My first piano teacher was Dennis Dalton, a gifted pre-med student at Baylor University, who lived in the home of an older lady who also taught piano. Quickly, I was led into learning the old English carol “Good King Wenceslas.” I remember sitting in the foyer of her antique home, listening to the student working on carols before me, enjoying the sights and smells of the spruce Christmas tree, colored lights & candy, and being warmed by the yellow and blue hissing of the gas heater. How I wish I still owned that old golden book of beginner’s carols.
For years now, I’ve been fortunate to have played Christmas music. Some seasons, it was at an old tick-tack upright in Abilene, Texas; others in a cozy 1880’s vintage café in Bowling Green, Kentucky. For more than fifteen years, I enjoyed playing in Nashville’s upscale McClure’s department store, soothing frayed shoppers’ nerves, hopefully encouraging peace on earth and good will toward men, and musically reminding us all of the beauty and meaning woven deep within the hustle.
I hope you will find warmth and joy in these songs. Some are traditional. Some of them have put on a George Winston coat and muffler, and others wear a few New Orleans Mardi Gras beads. My best mode is improv, as the spirit moves me. While you may be caught by a mischievous snowball or two, I hope you will sense my wink and a smile under the mistletoe, know that all is well, and feel the kind, knowing grace and joy of the Divine Child, living within us all.
My Christmas Card, to you with Love,
My Thanks to You!
I want to thank the following, who have helped birth this recording.
Jimmy and Helen Sorrells, my dad & mom, for diving into life with great courage, for sharing their love, joy and courage with Steve, Sharon and me, and for building a home and memories that continue to nurture, strengthen, heal and move our world. Sharon and Steve and your wonderful families, for your love, joy, encouragement and steadfastness!
James Newell, for encouraging me, by love, wisdom and example, to become all of whom I can be. Bedford Combs, for modeling amazing love and grace, with gentleness, skill and strength. Cyndy Knox, for helping me clarify, for believing in my best, and for carrying my CD all year in your car. I can feel these things, you know!
Suzy and Tookie, for your love, encouragement and rave reviews when this project was just opening its eyes. Ann Ridley, for your friendship, comfort and for loving the music. Lindy Dunn, for your inspiration, and for awakening me through your gorgeous spirit.
Dave Dunseath and Gene Ford, for being good men I can admire, depend upon and share a fine round of Sam Adams with, in the joys of pursuing our arts and craftsmanship. You guys continue to inspire and amaze me on a weekly basis, and you have changed my life. I am truly grateful to you!
Bobby & Pam Chilton, Michael Johnson, Mark Rubin, Wade Wisdom, Raine Austen, for becoming part of my family at the Brasserie. Geoff & Becky Thurman, Lisa Van Wye, Randy Cox and Dorothy McKamie, for helping me along the way become the musician I have wanted to be. Rick Day, Hank Maddux, Edith Strickland, Harold & Carol Straughn and Debi Holliday, for encouraging me to pursue my musical desires! Adam Hatley for excellent engineering and friendship.
Kit Reuther, for being a true and loving best friend. Thank you for your wisdom, insight, humor, honesty, patience, and for your love of being an artist.
I love you all.