If there is a musical genre that reflects what I love about music, it would be that glorious music that defines Christmas. I have spent many months each year in preparation for the Christmas concerts, recordings, shows, etc. that have been my trademark in my North Coastal-San Diego County home of Solana Beach, in various recording studios throughout Southern California, and on the stage of Silver Dollar City’s Opera House Theater, in Branson, MO.
All of that usually involves the grand uplifting songs that make the holiday traditions we’ve all come to expect. But often it becomes “can you top last year?” and the stretch to do just that reaches past the boundaries of the meaning of the season.
So, as a gift to family and friends I recorded The Quiet of Christmas. I hoped to focus on the simple beauty and elegance of the melodies that reach deep into our hearts and bring us back to that place of “All is Calm, All is Bright.”
Armed with just two synth modules that connect via midi to the beautiful Yamaha C7 grand piano, I spent a single afternoon with a favorite recording engineer, and this was the result. Live, no overdubs, just me telling Christmas stories through my fingers.
At the engineer’s suggestion, I composed a brand new melody right there at the piano. I believe what you hear might have been the fourth incarnation of that song, The Quiet of Christmas. While there are a few moments that also reflect the joy of the season, and take one more to the bright, it is the sense of clam that I wanted to share during this often too-hectic time.
Born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, Stan’s musical gifts soon became known throughout the region and state, creating a path for his education at Gettysburg College. While there, the famed choral leader, Fred Waring, became aware of his talents and put them to use in his summer music workshops. As summer turned to fall, Stan joined Waring on cross-country concert tours. It was there that he met his wife, Heidi, a singer on the shows.
The next stop for him was Los Angeles where Stan became a staple in the studios mainly as a singer, recording with Sinatra, the Carpenters, the Johnny Mann and the Ray Conniff Singers; and on television specials and variety shows like The Carol Burnett Show.
Just a few hours south of there, a new venture beckoned and Stan became the producer and composer of many commercial jingles, TV news themes, and the ID’s that identify radio stations. Chances are if you’ve bought a product from a store or dealership, watched a TV show, stayed in a hotel, flown an airline, or fed a pet, then your choice was influenced by Stan’s music.
The United States Air Force selected Stan to compose an original score to unveil it’s monument in our nation’s capital. Perhaps his love of all things God and Country will best be displayed in his soundtrack for a soon to be released film Just an American.
All things come together in one great plan. Those days of a country church, with the Gettysburg College choir, under the tutelage of Fred Waring, moving West and then South to San Diego, all served to bring Stan and family to Calvary Lutheran Church, which found itself in need of a musical director. Today, nearly three decades later, his work with the choirs and musical talent there are a huge part a career that has come full circle.
No wonder Christmas showcases his spirit. With the pace that he keeps as Minister of Music for Calvary Lutheran Church, as a free-lance working musician and producer, as musical director for the tours of Disney on Ice and Disney Live, for Headin’ West and A Dickens Christmas Carol in Branson, as father of three professional perfomers, and as life-long musical partner with Heidi, it’s no wonder Stan was looking for some quiet. We’re glad he’s shared it with us in The Quiet of Christmas.