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Maria V. Gallagher has discovered a new way to celebrate the season, thanks to the musical selections of Christmas Merry & Bright. 

From the time I stood, legs shaking, on stage for my second-grade solo rendition of "Silent Night," I’ve always appreciated a good Christmas carol. Yuletide melodies instantly put me in the Christmas mood, enhancing my celebration of Christ’s birth.  

If you’re looking for a gift to put under the Christmas tree for the music lover in your family, consider Christmas Merry & Bright, a selection of jazzy numbers from EWTN and cable news host Raymond Arroyo.  


Merry and Bright album cover


You might have caught Arroyo’s Christmas specials over the years on the global television network. One of the highlights for me was when Arroyo would drop his news-anchor persona and reveal his inner Broadway star. His voice is velvety and makes me want to grab a hot cocoa and sit by a roaring fire. 

His Christmas CD does not disappoint! The musical arrangements for the time-honored tunes are impressive and original-sounding. For instance, while I have never been the greatest fan of “Deck the Halls,” Arroyo’s innovative rendition captivated me.  

Arroyo is accompanied on this musical adventure by the jazz group The NOLA Players, who bring an infectious enthusiasm to their work here. From "Jingle Bells" to "I Heard the Bells," and from "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" to "Joy to the World," each track is a vibrant masterpiece of sound. I enjoyed the fresh takes on classic carols and believe this is one CD I will play on repeat for many Christmases to come.  

Perhaps the most emotionally-stirring song on the CD is a newly-minted version of "Feliz Navidad," where Arroyo partners with the incomparable José Feliciano. The sweet melody is destined to become a fan favorite in the years ahead.   

Whether you are a devotee of the Big Band era, or just a curious listener, chances are good you will be amazed at the range that Christmas Merry & Bright, available from Sophia Institute Press, has to offer. This breathtakingly bold CD also offers you the opportunity to introduce children to a timeless catalogue of Christmas favorites. So pass the figgy pudding and give it a listen!      

Ask for Christmas Merry and Bright at your local Catholic retailer, or order online from Amazon.com or the publisher, Sophia Institute Press.




Copyright 2023 Maria V. Gallagher