Nestled tightly together like an a capella choir that has sung together for decades, Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals deliberately communicate an almost solemn, yet rich song after song in the new album, A Capella Holiday Classics. An onslaught of merriment, the voices on this record preserve the stronghold that Christmas and holiday carols have had in our lives for what feels like always. Where others like Pentatonix excel at a modern sound, Margaret Dorn and The Accidentals are successful at cultivating a sound that is both classic and contemporary. They make you believe in the miracle of the season, and your heart keeps wanting more and more of their angelic voices.
Dorn, the leader of The Accidentals, is also a songwriter, singer, producer, soloist and arranger. Her songs have been recorded worldwide by such artists as Karen Carpenter and The Sweet Inspirations. She has sung with Celine Dion, Bette Midler, Carly Simon, Michael Bolton, Garth Brooks and many more. Her resume also includes her role as choir director for Downtown Messiah, a star-studded holiday show that ran many years at the Bottom Line Club, located in the Greenwich Village of Manhattan, New York.
The songs on the album reflect the years of training and talents these singers possess. The Accidentals are at the top of their game, especially in selections like the “Carol Of The Bells”, “O Come, All Ye Faithful”, “Silent Night” and ”What Child Is This”. If you are a fan of the more pop culture-flavored songs and secular-leaning, then songs like “Jingle Bells” and “Winter In Manhattan” will feel just as cozy and light. The album does tend to hit the Christian crowd a bit more and even includes some traditional hymns like “Total Pulchra” and “The Hallelujah Chorus”. For an album that I knew nearly almost every lyric too, the sing along factor was in full force.
That’s not to say there aren’t some new songs. Some surprises on the album included “Balulalow” and “Patapan”. I just wasn’t as familiar with these song titles, but once I heard the music, I did feel a sense of déjà vu. It gave pause, based on the wonderful rhythms, that at some point I might have heard the songs in a movie or concert – even if it were only an instrumental. I have to say my favorites after a few listens were their versions of “O Tannenbaum” and “Silent Night”. It’s hard to pass up those songs, and no matter how many times you hear them in a lifetime, it escapes you to a special moment in time.
I think listeners that enjoy classical music, New Age music, Christian music and artists like Josh Groban and of course the stylings of Pentatonix will adore these songs. There are many on the album – with plenty to relax on a winter’s day next to the fire. It’s the perfect setting and tone to create when gearing up for the holiday rush. Family, food, music and memories – A Capella Holiday Classics is the perfect accoutrement to your holiday planning.