FINAL UPDATE 1/22/2010:As completed as possible!
Since the early 1990s, Boston radio station Magic 106.7 (home of the famous David Allan Boucher “BEDTIME MAGIC” show) has played a beautiful 18 hour selection of traditional Christmas carols beginning at 6pm Christmas Eve. For the most part, the set list has been pretty much the same, with a few tweaks.
Years ago, just for fun, I realized I wanted to know the set list so I could start collecting the CDs of this beautiful music.
I called the station but they didn’t have a set list, and while the DJs were happy to list a few songs I couldn’t very well ask for a verbal list of 18 hours of music.
So over time and Christmases I started making a list of each hour and every song I could identify by name and artist. Since the majority were instrumental, and some I’d never heard of (“Sheep may safely graze?”) This took longer than expected. But it became sort of a fun hobby / challenge.
I called the lovely Candy O’Terry, Assistant Program Director at Magic, and she listed a few songs for me, and I am indebted to Music Director Mark Laurence who answered several emails with names and artists, totaling a dozen or so.
And I am very grateful to the Magic 106.7 “Overnight Guy,” as he called himself, who told me he works Christmas Eve each year so other Magic employees can spend the time with their families. In 2008 he also told me the names and artists for another small bunch of songs.
With the clues I had, I realized I’d never heard of some of these artists, like Esteban, or Dino, or the Stylistics. But then I realized that many of the artists were under the “Narada” and “Windham Hill” family of musicians. I had my leads!
So, I guess I’ve been slightly obsessed, buying LOTS of Christmas Carol CDs, but I have (almost) the complete companion to the set list from “Magic of Christmas” and a wonderful new collection of beautiful Christmas CDs.
I know there are many people in Boston and the surrounding area who love the “Magic of Christmas” show; you can CLICK HERE for my excel spreadsheet for the set list, which features each hour’s song list and the artist (and album title if I could find it). Spreadsheet updated February 18, 2010.
I encourage you to check out some of these artists for some truly beautiful Christmas music, and of course, listen to Magic!
If you get a moment, call the station at 617-931-1067 and tell the folks at Magic how much you enjoy the Magic of Christmas and the beautiful Christmas music they play all season.
And thank you to Magic 106.7 for a great station and a wonderful Christmas tradition, and for introducing me to such a variety of beautiful Christmas music.
UPDATE January 22, 2010: Despite my best efforts and research, there were 41 artists I could not identify, and this project was shelved for a year… On a whim (read: I decided to beg) I sent the list to Magic, and Candy O’Terry offered to ask an intern, Anthony, to review my list and fill in the gaps. He wasn’t able to find all of them — after all, this collection was assembled nearly 20 years ago) so there are still some 15 “unknowns,” but Anthony’s “audit” was far more than I could have hoped for.
Now, working at a radio station is more than a full time job so for anyone to offer to do this is extraordinarily kind. I am overwhelmed by the generosity and so very grateful to Anthony, to Candy O’Terry, and Mark Laurence, and Magic 106.7’s Program Director/VP Programming Don Kelley.
Completion of this list may seem like a small (read: silly) thing, but this quest has become something of an obsession — I am VERY grateful to Candy for taking the time to help me (almost) complete this list! To everyone at Magic 106.7, especially Candy and Anthony — you guys ROCK! Well, “Continuous Soft Rock,” according to the promos
With all these new hints and information, I re-audited the CDs I have, and God bless Amazon.com’s feature that allows you to listen to a snippet of a song — that gave me a few more. So after even more work and the serious realization I need a life, I have completed this as much as possible and it is time to close this project. But if anyone out there knows any of the “ARTIST UNKNOWNS,” please let me know, obsessions don’t go away!
Note: The same 18 hour “Magic of Christmas” last aired on Christmas Eve, 2012. (To be honest, it was certainly time for something new, and I compliment the station on giving “Magic of Christmas” a well deserved retirement after two decades! Also, thank you to Magic for now playing Christmas music throughout the entire season — and for playing new holiday music on Christmas Eve and into Christmas as well!)