Merry Christmas to our listeners in every corner of the world, from Vancouver to Vanuatu, Kokomo to Kiev. As Mark wrote exactly a year ago:
Thank you for your many kind comments about the above: We may have the makings of a new annual tradition at SteynOnline.
And so it has proved. As you'll know if you saw Steyn with the Reverend William Pearson-Gee of Buckingham Parish Church on TV last Christmas or this, the Christian church has been conspicuous by its absence for much of these last three years in Covidstan. So, after receiving many emails from around the globe from people who, whether due to the state or the church or their own circumstances, were unable to leave their homes to worship, last Christmas Eve Mark presented his own version of traditional carols and lessons.
He was surprised by how many people enjoyed and appreciated it. So this year we're doing it again. If you're in the mood for ancient scripture and not quite so ancient music that tells a two-thousand-year-old tale, do please click above. (But don't worry: For our militantly atheist listeners discombobulated by God-bothering, the great secular trinity of Santa, Frosty and Rudolph can be found here.)
We don't have a full choir or a thunderous organ, but Mark does have some friends from the Steyn Show musical family with their own distinctive and intimate takes on carols familiar and not so familiar. As you'll know if you've attended Christmas Eve service if the same village church for decades, some things stay the same but others evolve a little. Mark liked certain aspects of last year's programme, so he doesn't want to mess with them, but he's tweaked a little here and there, adding a passage from Jeremiah that seems especially pertinent and a poem, too.
We save the credits with respect to who sings what until the end of the proceedings, but Tal Bachman, who this time last year was live on our Christmas Eve telly show, returns with a brand new version of a very old carol, as does Emma Kershaw (seen with Tim Rice on our show of Christmas past) whose lovely reading of "The First Noël" was a big hit with listeners last Yuletide; this year Emma has brought along Mary Carew and Emer McParland for two of the most joyous carols you'll hear this season.
There are also performances from the great Irish tenor Anthony Kearns; Elisabeth von Trapp from the famous Sound of Music family; acclaimed singer-pianist Carol Welsman; Monique Fauteux, one of the glories of Quebec music since her days with the rock band Harmonium; and Linda Purl, a fixture on American TV screens from "Happy Days" to "Matlock" to "The Office": guests from America, Canada, England, Ireland, Wales that a mere three years ago it would have been perfectly natural to find on stage together, but which multinational mélange has now been rendered logistically all but impossible.
Simply click above to listen - and Merry Christmas to you and yours!
Mme Fauteux's pianist: Stéphane Aubin;
Miss Kershaw's pianist: Kevin Amos;
Mr Kearns's pianist: David George.