I am usually Grinched up to the max on Christmas. These past few holidays seasons I’ve been totally okay with Chinese takeout and old movies being my celebration. Sprinkle in Midnight Mass and a phone call to my parents and count the holiday complete. I could recite all the reasons why the Christmas cheer has left me but they’re irrelevant. The truth is I have very little to complain about nor do I have any valid reason for continuing to sip arsenic sauce with my morning coffee.
“It’s because I’m green, isn’t it?”
However, last night was one of those rare opportunities for me to enjoy the delights of Christmas with my favorite human. My Father gifted my daughter and I two tickets to enjoy the Dallas Winds Christmas Special. As a youth the symphony was a part of my life. My parents have always adored the fine arts and by extension so have I. Whatever epigenetic switch that fires in people is strong within our bloodline and my daughter is also a lover of classical music.
Naturally, we played dress up and waltzed through the wonderful array of Christmas lights downtown. Some long lost childhood wonder came alive in me as we entered into halls of the Meyerson. The moment the orchestra tuned into to the lead violinists A all of my worries seemed to fade. I mean, who can be bitter in such a beautifully designed building? No one. In that moment I was just a Father enjoying a night out with his child.
In walks the music of Julie Giroux. This woman is iconic. She’s done it all. From working on Dynasty to creating the charts for video games like Red Dead Redemption, hitting scores for Hill Street Blues and writing a few symphonies along the way. Moreover, she’s one of us. Coming from humble beginnings as a band nerd in Monroe, LA to gracing the halls of Hollywood and composing music for almost every award ceremony you can think of. Yet here she is answering a babies cry with an “Oh! I know! It’s menopause for me. I wanna cry too!” As we all erupted in raucous laughter I couldn’t help but marvel at how wonderful a human being she is.
Then, there’s her Christmas Toons themselves. The whole Christmas racket started out for her because she landed a huge internship with a Hollywood composer in her early 20’s. Bill Conti, was his name, and he was wealthier than most of us can imagine. That first Christmas spent with his family sparked a lifelong tradition. Giroux recanted “what do you gift a millionaire?” Why music of course. She played a bit of piano with her feet and did all the Christmas numbers. So Bill asked for a tape of Christmas mashups. His friends asked for tapes of Christmas mashups. And Giroux delivered.
Well, she’s still delivering Christmas mashups and they are phenomenal. Her style of writing charts has all the elements of hip-hop I love, yet it’s still very classical in feel. That, oh these harmonic progressions play nice together, let’s mash them together and rock the house vibe is strong. Who would ever think to turn We Three Kings into Three Wise-guys and give it a swing? By the time the orchestra belted out Little Drummer Boys Bolero I had completely lost it. Who is this woman and why am I just now hearing her music? Her renditions of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker are beyond brilliant. It’s just good fun.
I know it looks like a puff piece but it’s not. I really just wanted to show my gratitude for a woman who’s holiday spirit worked it’s way into these old bones and warmed my heart. Julie Giroux, if you ever see this just know your music has touched my life and made me smile. I thank you for that. Genuinely. This is becoming one of the best Christmases I’ve ever experienced and you played a part in that.
Merry Christmas to one and all.