-Bistro, BroadwayWorld, MAC and Margaret Whiting Award winnerCelia Berkhasreleased her first holiday single. “Holiday Bells Medley”is a blend of Silver Bells, Carol of the Bells and Shostakovich’s Waltz #2, Opus 99. Renowned jazz pianist Jon Weberarranged the medley and vocalese. Steve Kenyonand CJ Camerieriprovided trumpet, french horn and woodwind arrangements. Tony and Grammy-award winning sound designer Scott Lehrerproduced the track, guiding studio and remote recording sessions during the height of the pandemic. You can listen to the single here.
In Fall 2019, Celia approached Weber with the idea for a medley of Silver Bells and Carol of the Bells that would showcase her vocal range and ability to perform in different musical genres, from legit to jazz to traditional holiday repertoire. They collaborated on the arrangement while Weber was traveling around the world doing gigs. But neither suspected this approach would continue into the recording process.
The original intention was to record the medley during sessions for Celia’s third album, due to start under the supervision of producer Scott Lehrer in April 2020. With the onset of COVID-19, her plans were derailed.
As New York City began to reopen in June, Celia reached out to Lehrer to explore how to record the track in time for the 2020 holiday season. Following stringent safety protocols, Celia and Weber recorded at
Kilgore Studios in Midtown Manhattan. Lehrer then brought in esteemed musicians Steve Kenyon and CJ Camerieri to add trumpet, french horn and woodwinds remotely. The group coordinated over Zoom as the mix took shape.
“Holiday Bells Medley” is the second single Celia has recorded during the pandemic. In September, she released the first recording of Michael Silversher’s “A Simple Prayer”. Joined by pianist Alex Rybeck, she describes the song as “an orison for troubled times.” Stephen Mosher of BroadwayWorld.comwrote, “Mr. Silversher’s composition seems to inspire in Ms. Berk a level of connection that is almost otherworldly – perhaps it is the time in which we are living, maybe it’s the marriage of artist to art, but this will come to be known as one of Celia Berk’s great achievements.”