Christmas is just around the corner, but if it's still difficult to get into the holiday spirit, Street Corner Symphony has more mirth to offer than a punch bowl full of spiked eggnog.
The five-member Nashville-based a cappella group released the nine-track album A Street Corner Christmas on Nov. 25, aka the Blackest of Fridays in this bizarre election year. To make your season merry and brighter, they are presenting the video premiere of one of the tracks -- "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" -- exclusively at The Huffington Post today (Dec. 13).
The video -- as wacky as a tacky holiday sweater -- captures the lighthearted spirit of the song. It's more reminiscent of Spike Jones & His City Slickers' "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," one of the classic novelty tunes resurrected in Dr. Demento's collection, than the reverential treatment presented in Bing Crosby's "Silent Night," which Street Corner Symphony also respectfully covers.
Members of Street Corner Symphony (from left): Kurt Zimmerman,
Santa Claus, Keleb Jones, Jeremy Lister and Jonathan Lister.
In "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," directed by Dylan White and shot in one take at ONE at Cannery Row in Nashville, four of the group's merry gentlemen -- including brothers and original members Jeremy and Jonathan Lister -- are held hostage around a Christmas tree by Santa and his mischievous gang of elves.
"I think we depleted Nashville thrift stores of all of their Christmas decor," Jeremy Lister said of the production planning in October. "This was my first time doing a one-shot video. It was a lot of work, but a ton of fun. I'm still finding fake snow on/in random parts of my body."
Beginning with the nostalgic scratches of a vinyl record, all ends well in the video for Street Corner Symphony's members as they shake off the artificial snowflakes and form a high-kicking chorus line that would make the Radio City Rockettes ho-ho-ho while they jingle all the way.
"This video was an absolute blast to make, said Keleb Jones, who rounds out Street Corner Symphony's full-time membership with Kurt Zimmerman. "The good thing about doing a one-shot video is, well, you only get one shot. So for better or worse, you get what you get. That pressure is exciting and terrifying but definitely worked out to the advantage of this project. I've also developed quite a taste for fake snow. It's delicious.
"So much preparation has to go into making those two minutes work. When we were buying props, the Goodwill cashier thought I was a total crazy person with a giant cart filled with Christmas junk in October. She was right, but the Christmas stuff had nothing to do with it."
Before the fantastic five finish wrapping presents, Street Corner Symphony -- the runner-up on the second season of NBC's The Sing-Off in 2010 -- is wrapping up a nationwide holiday tour on Dec. 17 at Bluegrass Underground's the Volcano Room in McMinnville, Tenn. Then the swinging singers will have a few days to anticipate the arrival of the honest-to-goodness Kris Kringle.
"This video has really opened my eyes to who Santa really is," joked Jonathan Lister after spending time with a suspected Saint Nicholas poseur in the video. "He may seem all jolly and stuff but I'd think twice before hopping in his sleigh for a hang. You might find yourself bound and blindfolded, getting pummeled with fake snow. He's a nice guy but he's really old and apparently you get bored at that age."
Track listing for A Street Corner Christmas
1. "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"
2. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"
3. "Santa's Lost His Mojo"
4. "This Christmas"
5. "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
6. "Happy Christmas (War is Over)"
7. "White Christmas"
8. "What Child is This?"
9. "Silent Night"
Publicity photo courtesy of the artist.