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  • Writer's pictureSteven Stewart

Christmas: The Thrill of Hope

Updated: Nov 24, 2018

For Santa Claus, the process of making a truly magical Christmas is a year-long labor of love. Bringing my version of Christmas magic to life took a little longer. And I am so happy to finally be able to share it with you all.

It actually began nearly 5 years ago with a project creating English versions of traditional Finnish carols for a heavy metal Christmas album. (Raskasta Joulua, Raganrock Juletide ... Heavy Christmas) Three of my songs made the final cut, but I wrote many more that were not recorded which I really loved and hoped would find a home on another album.

My next festive endeavor was for Mervi Multamäki (the voice of many of Disney’s animated heroines in Finland, including Belle, Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, as well as vocalist for Adiemus, How Many Sisters, and much more). Her brilliant concept was to add holiday lyrics to the beautiful melodies of selected impressionistic piano pieces of the early 1900s and re-introduce them as modern Christmas classics. It was such a great validation to have Karl Jenkins from Adiemus give the feedback for the project, "The Christmas Impressions songs are beautiful and a very imaginative approach to these classics. They sound as though they have been originally written like this, which, to pull off, is a tremendous achievement. "

As these projects blossomed, I became a sort of go-to Christmas song expert and my immersion into Christmas music took on a life of it’s own. It seemed like jingle bells were constantly ringing.

Although these projects filled me with holiday spirit, there came a point when I felt like something was missing. I love Christmas music, but I was only creating it for others. In that moment I realized making my own Christmas album was a legacy project that I longed to produce. My vision was to celebrate the nostalgic holiday music I grew up with while weaving in the gorgeous melancholy minor melodies from the Finnish carols I love.

The album's title, “The Thrill of Hope”, is derived from the classic Christmas song “O Holy Night”. I think it captures perfectly the true meaning of Christmas in every regard. From my Christian faith, it represents a new light of HOPE born into a weary world, the Savior of us all. From the twinkling perspective of secular seasonal joys, it represents the HOPE for the gathering of family, the warmth of hearth & home, and the perfect gift given or received. My youngest son, who did the narration for "Luke 1: 30-33" is named "Toivo." It is the Finnish word for Hope. And being a father and having a family I love with all of my heart is the biggest thrill I could ever hope for.

My prayer is that this Christmas album will spark a thrill of hope in each of you and become a part of the soundtrack of your holidays for many years to come.


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