Happy Holidays from the entire team at the Hult Center!
We’ve got a secret to let you in on. The staff at the Hult Center are a ginormous treasure bag of music loving weirdos and we couldn’t think of a better gift for our amazing community and patrons than sharing some of our exceptionally eclectic tastes in jingles, jangles and jams that bring us joy during the holidays.
We hope you enjoy the collection below and maybe even find something new to work into your own holiday traditions. We tried to pull as much into a main playlist on Spotify embedded below – but you’ll find other goodies and videos throughout the page. Plus, the gifts don’t have to just be one-way as we’d love to know what music lights up your own holidays by adding comments to our posts on social.
From all of us at the Hult Center: we wish you a safe and happy holidays and best wishes for an amazing new year!
Staff Member: Rich Hobby, Director of Marketing
Album or Music: The Salsoul Orchestra – Christmas Jollies & Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses
What you love about it: If there was ever an album to relieve the weary souls of 2020 it would have to be the exuberantly upbeat disco-infused madness of the SalSoul Orchestra and their 1976 album “Christmas Jollies”. I stumbled upon this gem of a record during an aimless used-bin search and, to this day, may be the greatest thing I’ve snagged. The peppery drums and sliding, funky, bass lines instantly make this album a mood-lifter that only gets merrier with the energetic chorus dropping in classic holiday melodies. There is an unmistakable 1970s NYC vibe to this album as well which makes for a delightful time-trip. Favorite tracks:: Little Drummer Boy (THAT BASS LINE IS FIRE) and Sleigh Ride.
Bonus track: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses – I love this song too much, from the catchy beat and rhythm of the guitar throughout, along with the killer horns and the punkish lyrics that start off reluctant to the joys of the season that eventually give-in by the ending chorus “Merry Christmas – couldn’t miss this one this year!”. I fully confess I even find myself humming this song off-season. It’s too good.
Staff Member: Theresa Sizemore, General Manager
Album or Music: Shatner Claus – The Christmas Album
Ah – the Shatnerverse. I don’t know why I love William Shatner. Maybe it’s because the guy just enjoys the hell outta being himself and will boldy go where most people won’t dare and doesn’t care. When I heard of this album, my response was “C’mon, really.” But…it reeled…me in… with it’s tacky coolness and brought some serious mirth to my son’s frat Christmas party. The guy is in his 80’s and is living long and prospering with artists like Henry Rollins, Judy Collins, Iggy Pop, Todd Rungren, Brad Paisley amongst others. It’s so crazy you can’t look away or plug your ears. You just have to experience it and then, you just have to experience it again because you can’t believe you’ve just heard what you’ve heard. And then, you listen to it AGAIN! The rum, pum, pum, pums are pure gold. If you are starting to feel like Scrooge, give it a go. You won’t be disappointed. You can’t be. It’s the Shat.
Staff Member: Jeff Weinkauf, Director of Theater Operations and Facilities
Album of Music: Austrian & Bavarian traditional Christmas Music
Was searching for an alternative to the traditional “rockin around the Christmas tree” for evening relaxation and contemplation. Found this playlist to be a delightful mix of oompah/acoustic/choral gems. Be sure not to miss the obo driven classic “Tassilo Musik – Adventsingen in Aschau, and tour de force “Perjener Blaeser”. You’ll harken back to those awkward family photo web sites as you watch Musikantenspeiltsau (with nearly 22k followers!) play the classic Salzberger Dreigesang. Listen to the high and lofty strains of as you sip a hot buttered rum. Mmmm goes down smooth. Honorable mentions go to Bayern Volksmusik with their 2011 performance of Bavarian folkmusic for advent, and the classic Advent in Oberstdorf. Finally, if you’re a fan of the hammer dulcimer, be sure not to miss Adventsingen in Aschau. All in all you’ll find the very best of the best in this sliver segment of acoustic, , Bavarian/Austrian Christmas classics.
Staff Member: Abbey Aronica, Marketing Coordinator
Album or Music: Dominick the Donkey (The Italian Christmas Donkey) by Lou Monte
Well, I thought everyone knew this crazy song, but I’m beginning to think it’s only Italians in the Northeast where I grew up. This song is super weird and is about a donkey that helps Santa bring presents to children in Italy because “the reindeers cannot climb the hills of Italy.” Is this my favorite Christmas song? Nope. Top 10? Not likely (the donkey sounds kind of start to get to you). Why pick it? This song was a CLASSIC during Christmas’s at my Ma and Poppop’s and usually involved a lot of dancing and laughing with my cousins. This is my first Christmas ever where I won’t be in Pennsylvania to see my family but this song instantly transports me to my grandparents’ living room. The holidays, to me, are all about family, food and belly laughs, and this song tends to tie all of that together for me!
Staff member: Nathan Cox, Assistant Technical Director
Album or Music: OK as some of you know I had a previous life as the Chief Engineer of KWVA radio at the University of Oregon. I also had a radio show called The Doppler Effect that broadcasted every week on Thursdays 4 to 6pm. I delved deep in the obscure and wild for my weekly sonic menu. One performer that always delivered for me was Weird Al Yankovic. And, in addition I once played two full hours of Atomic bomb pop songs that were made in stressful fascination over the possible end of the world during the Cold War (yes, they exist).
(*clears throat, voice deepens) So this 3 minutes of broadcasting to add to your holiday playlist is brought to you by the dark humor of Nathan’s psyche that combines the “duck and cover” world of both stressful times and umm Christmas!
Staff Member: Vicki Infinito, Director of Programming
Album or Music: Vicki’s Playlist!
Basically, I actually love Christmas for all the good things – there is something about the spirit of the season. I, however, am not the biggest fan of the run of the mill holiday songs that you hear every year and each year, I try to find new ones from artists I love. I usually end up stumbling upon some other super fun ones when I fall down the Spotify rabbit hole (which is a real thing). I found some pretty great ones this year that I hadn’t heard before and included a few of my all time favorites. We start off with one of my all-time favorites Fairytale of New York by The Pogues.
Staff Member: Hannah Bulkley, Programming & Booking Coordinator
Album or Music: Todrick Hall – Bells, Bows, Gifts, Trees
This is a completely new find—it was just released on December 1 and it’s a spin off of Todrick’s Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels, which is my go-to feel-good/pump-me-up song/video (definitely watch but it’s NSFW). Bells, Bows, Gifts, Trees is the same catchy tune with new festive lyrics that I can confidently play for my kiddos. I have our very own Ben Klipfel to thank for introducing me to Todrick Hall, who is a beast of a choreographer and has more creativity in his little finger than I do in my whole being. Watching this video takes me back to my dancing days (I’m still intent on teaching myself the choreography), and watching the dancers absolutely KILL it in those heels, reminds me why I’m “retired”. This particular piece is fun and festive, and only suggestive enough that what an adult might hear as an innuendo goes right over my oldest’s head!….For now. His range of rating levels is another reason I love Todrick—some of his work lets me get all my naughty words out, and other pieces allow me to have a dance party in my living room with my family. Bells, Bows, Gifts, Trees is of the latter. Watch, enjoy, be impressed by those moves, and be merry.
Staff member: Jen Cumberworth, Senior Admin and Education Coordinator
Album or Music: I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Gayla Peevey
I would still like to recommend the song Bells, Bows, Gifts, Trees by Todrick Hall even though Hannah already did. Who doesn’t love handsome men wearing heels, dressed as reindeer and dancing to a fun holiday pop song?!
I’ll also throw out the classic, I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by Gayla Peevey. I believe this one is pretty played out (or at least it was for me growing up), but it is just so weird and catchy. And for someone who is NOT a singer, I rather enjoy singing along in a weird character voice.
Staff member: Lee Alberts, Food and Beverage Director
Album or Music: Max Headroom Christmas
I thoroughly enjoy Christmas music and while I enjoy many classics like Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts Christmas, I also enjoy some really weird stuff. Things that land on my turntable that fall into the “weird” category range from The Who’s Tommy to Pink Floyd’s Piper at the Gates of Dawn to many Flaming Lips albums. A little “weird” adds spice to life! I would like to share the following with you because when you asked for the weirder the better, this came to mind. Most of you are not old enough to remember this guy but to a few of you (I’m looking at you Nikki, Darcy, Jeff, Louise, Kim and most definitely Theresa are old enough) certainly will recall this guy when you see him. The rest of you will just have to wonder what the hell was going on in the 1980’s. I hope you all enjoy this and it brings the holiday spirit to you all. Just remember, you’ll never get these four minutes back in you life. Enjoy!
Staff Member: Dylan Stasack, Box Office Specialist
Album or Music: O Holy Night (Live) ft. David Phelps
What you love about it: My earliest memories of this video are watching it in college at my class Christmas parties: just a bunch of musical theatre majors cracking up at the delightfully campy tonal juxtaposition of Phelps’ (and his accompanist’s) phenomenal musical performance set against a backdrop of unapologetically melodramatic Southern megachurch-goers. The close-ups on the characters in the audience and onstage choir make me laugh every time, and somehow make Phelps’ glorious tenor even more thrilling. Make sure to watch the whole thing, the second half really ups the ante.
Staff Member: Emeka Ogu, Box Office Assistant Manager
Album or Music: Natty Music
I grew up watching Cops and the signature theme song Bad Boys song by Inner Circle. Years later, I would find this gem, and come to realize that they had put out this Christmas album under their lead singers Jacob Millers name. They recorded this in 1978, two years before Jacob’s early death at age 27. Most songs are set to traditional Christmas tunes, so everyone can sing along!
This album was packed with holiday traditions classics infused with a roots reggae flavor and is wonderful soundtrack to listen to while enjoying your Christmas tree!
Staff Member: Amanda M., Box Office Specialist
Album or Music: Jazzy/Funky Playlist!
This upbeat, festive playlist is an ongoing curation of our favorites in the genre; these hip, jazzy and soulful seasonal selections definitely put a little pep in our holiday step! We’ve been known to give a listen in July, as many of these funky tunes deserve a little hip shakin’ all year long. Just hit shuffle to get your holiday party started – featuring jazz, soul and funk legends James Brown, Vel-Mars, Jimmy Smith, The Brian Setzer Orchestra, Bobby Timmons, Peggy Lee, Chuck Berry, Booker T. & the M.G.s, Duke Pearson and Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings.
Staff Member: Josh Marean, Box Office Specialist
Album of Music: Good King Wenceslaus, by the Covenant of Saint Elizabeth.
I’ve always enjoyed singing this song with my friends and family. The story of the song is vivid, and I appreciate its references to nature. And of course it’s message is uplifting. I usually sing it at a higher tempo, but was just so moved by the spirituality and wonderful harmonies from this group of excellent singers, I had to add it to my library.