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THE ACCIDENTALS #3 "I'm Not Going Home For Christmas"

THE ACCIDENTALS 3 Im Not Going Home For Christmas

The Accidentals  "I'm Not Going Home For Christmas"

(L-R) Dennis Deal, Jim Vincent, Emily Bindiger, Rosie Vallese, Margaret Dorn, Catherine Russell, Marcia Pelletiere, Bill Mitchell

This song harks back to a period when popular Christmas music largely consisted of appealingly sentimental claptrap.  We wrote it to pay tribute to those countless generations of kids who, despite times of war or plague or economic adversity, continue coming to the Big City, inventing new families, and creating their own holiday traditions.

A unique a cappella octet, THE ACCIDENTALS are known for their sophisticated harmonies, off-beat humor and eclectic repertoire of original songs and distinctive arrangements. Their five CDs have met with wide acclaim from the international a cappella audience, winning them several CARA Awards. Songs from their CDs have been featured in major films (Enemy Of The State, Get Carter) and network television shows (Spin City, JAG, Boston Public, Providence, Haven). In December 2005 they were featured on Denis Leary’s Christmas Special for Comedy Central. They also sang on the film score for Mission To Mars, composed and conducted by Ennio Morricone.   In March 2009, The Accidentals’ epic song “Many Voices” was featured in the opening and closing ceremonies of the World Figure Skating Championship in Los Angeles.  
The group has performed in major venues on both coasts, including concerts with the Brooklyn Philharmonic of Louis Andriessen’s “De Stijl” in Dutch. They are winners of three MAC Awards and the Back Stage Bistro in New York, as well as the National Harmony Sweepstakes  a cappella championship in San Francisco. They have appeared with such artists as The Persuasions, Rockapella, The Roches, The Swingle Singers,  Petula Clark, Richard Barone, David Johansen, Jane Siberry, The Chordettes, and Ben Vereen. The professional credits of the members include the record industry, Broadway and regional theater, poetry, education, art, landscaping, interior design, commercials, concert halls and arena tours.  There are always new projects in the works from the group the New York Post called “the best a cappella group in America.”

For many years, The Accidentals sang holiday carols in the Winter Garden, just across the street from the World Trade Center.  When the towers fell on 9/11, the Winter Garden was severely damaged, nearly destroyed.  For the holidays that year, we volunteered to sing in the lobbies of neighboring buildings, where folks from all over the world rushed through – business people, shopkeepers, tourists, workers covered with dust.  They stopped, listened and stayed.  Smoke filled the air and everyone’s eyes.  In September 2002, the restored Winter Garden was rededicated, and each of The Accidentals was given a piece of stone salvaged from the original building.  In December, we were singing there again, beneath windows that now overlook Ground Zero.  These are treasured memories.

"I'm Not Going Home For Christmas"

BILL MITCHELL, co-author of “I’m Not Going Home For Christmas”

Our tree is always huge and encrusted with stuff ranging from fabulous to funky -- Russian glass cathedrals, Barbie, crystal chandeliers, papier mache penguins and little wooden grand pianos.  As soon as I saw it, one particular ornament became my favorite thematically, if not aesthetically:  a homely painted glass Adam and Eve sitting beneath the apple tree, looking up longingly at the fruit, with a cute snake hanging out in the branches.  I loved the convoluted metaphysical path it represented-- a depiction of original sin and the fall from grace, hung (on a pagan artifact) in commemoration of the figure whose purpose was to redeem everyone from that sin.  Or maybe it was just an ornament.  I'm not really sure I have the Christmas story straight, in any case; my entire knowledge of Christianity comes from carols, and I find the whole notion kind of odd and exotic.  Holly, manger, saviour, gay apparel.  But I do like having a big tree in my living room, so call me a pagan.

In the waning hours of December 2008, a few days after our Accidental holiday party, the tree succumbed to the weight of its bling and keeled over at 4:00 in the morning.  Why is it always 4:00 AM when the dogs decide to barf, or the crank caller from Caracas rings, or the Christmas tree collapses?  My partner Jeff slept through it, the poodle and the lab kept snoring, and Sam, our self-appointed guard dog, padded into the living room, took one look, snorted and headed back for the bedroom.  I, of course, sprang on the scene before the last tinkles of shattering glass had died away and spent the next hours clearing the carnage.  Remarkably, very few of the special ornaments got smashed -- mostly it was the little glass balls from Smith & Hawken (remember Smith & Hawken?) that no one sells any more.  And Adam and Eve bit the dust.  Which didn't break my heart, after all:  there, between Glinda and the band of panda carollers, had hung original sin.  Kinda creepy, even for a pagan.

JIM VINCENT, co-author of “I’m Not Going Home For Christmas”

When I was four, my parents took me to see Santa. We walked into one of the two department stores in town, and there he sat, in the back of the store, in his bright red suit and silky white beard. We waited in line a few minutes, then I climbed up on Santa’s knee and poured my soul out to him. It was thrilling. A few minutes later we went to the town’s other department store, and there was a different Santa! I screamed when I saw him. My mother told me this guy was Santa’s “helper,” but to this day I still have my doubts.

MARGARET DORN, leader of The Accidentals writes:

For several years we were invited to sing for a Christmas party at a beautiful house in the woods near Kingston, New York. Our host would send a van to pick us up at the Winter Garden downtown after our Saturday afternoon performance and bring us upstate – a two-hour ride. One year our transportation was a small, slightly rickety school bus  -- we piled in and were on our way.

Our audience had been great that day and we were totally in the Christmas spirit. We exchanged presents -- funny, lovely, unexpected -- and wrapped in very unique ways! We started to sing to pass the time. Now everyone in the group is very creative so we came up with our own versions of the carols -- new lyrics (funny, of course), totally different grooves, changing from major keys to minor. Our ultimate creation was to combine "The Little Drummer Boy" with Ravel's "Bolero.” We laughed at the absurdity of marrying such disparate pieces of music- and then we really laughed when we realized they were the SAME SONG!