Holiday – Eleanor McCain Music


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“I love how music stirs such warmth and evokes wondrous emotions for me. The sentiments run deep at this time of year and nothing does that more than through beautiful holiday music.”

With a childhood of snowy, family-filled Christmases in Florenceville, New Brunswick, it’s not surprising that the holidays hold many cherished memories for Eleanor. Those were quiet times filled with music and togetherness. Every Christmas Eve, Eleanor sang in the choir while her mother played the organ.

Years of performing at Christmas concerts added to a passion for listening to and collecting beautiful Christmas music. Those strong family traditions and a passion for the holidays were passed down to Eleanor from her mother and Eleanor, in turn, has passed these sentiments to her own daughter.

I love how music stirs such warmth and evokes such emotion for me. The sentiments run deep at this time of year and nothing does that more than through beautiful holiday music.” Following on the heels of her ECMA nominated third CD, Green Hills of Home, Eleanor was ready to record the Christmas album she had been dreaming of doing for many years. Following a difficult year for her family, recording these songs soothed her soul and brought back a place of comfort and peace.

The two-disc CD contains recordings of 19 classic holiday tracks. The songs naturally fell into two groups that will create two distinct Holiday sentiments - A “Naughty” side for the secular, up-tempo, jazz selections and a “Nice” side for the intimate, traditional and choral tracks.

He Knows if you’ve been “Naughty”....
The “Naughty” collection takes an up-tempo twist on hymns such as “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and “What Child is This?” and has a jazz influence on secular favourites such as “What are you Doing for New Year’s Eve?,” “The Christmas Song,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Bringing her daughter into the musical fold, Eleanor and Laura recorded their first song together - “Let There Be Peace on Earth.” The poignant duet marks Laura’s musical debut for an occasion that is, fittingly, about sharing memories with family.

Another notable duet can be heard in “The First Noel,” featuring longtime friend and classical singer Cindy Townsend. The two have been making music together since their vocal training at Mount Allison University and every holiday following at Townsend’s Christmas party where friends have gathered to sing carols of the season.

He Knows if you’ve been “Nice”....
The “Nice” CD collection features Eleanor singing with Canada’s foremost professional chamber choir The Elmer Iseler Singers. Together they recorded “Once in Royal David’s City,” “Lo, How a Rose E’re Blooming,” “Away In A Manger,” and “Amazing Grace.” The powerful voices of the choir add a stirring sentiment of occasion and splendor to the tracks. Listeners will particularly enjoy Eleanor’s collaboration with the choir for “What is This Lovely Fragrance?,” a sentimental version of the traditional French carol arranged by well-known Canadian composer Healy Willan.

Also featured is the stirring orchestral arrangement that Brigham created for “O Holy Night” when Eleanor performed in 2010 with Symphony Nova Scotia and conductor Howard Cable. More intimate and ethereal tracks are the Canadian Christmas carol “The Huron Carol,” “Silent Night,” “In The Bleak Mid-Winter” and “I Wonder as I Wander” - the perfect accompaniment for peaceful, reflective moments with family.

Completing the CD is a deeply personal favourite of Eleanor’s, “Amazing Grace.” The song is dedicated to the memory of Eleanor’s father. While not a traditional Christmas song, it marks Eleanor’s first Christmas without her father and is sung in his honour.

Whatever your plans this holiday season, Holiday, has captured the songs to accompany your Christmas moments whether they are Naughty....or Nice.

Merry Christmas!

Track List


  1. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
    (English traditional / arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  2. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?
    (Frank Loesser / Frank Music Corp c/o MPL Communications Inc / arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  3. What Child Is This?
    (William Chatterton Dix / arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  4. Let There Be Peace On Earth - Duet with Laura David
    (Jill Jackson, Seymour Miller / Jan-Lee Music c/o MCCG, LLC / arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  5. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
    (Ralph Blane, Hugh Martin / EMI Feist Catalog Inc c/o EMI Catalogue Partnership / arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  6. The First Noel - Duet with Cindy Townsend
    (English traditional / arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  7. The Christmas Song
    (Mel Torme, Robert Wells / Edwin H Morris & Co c/o MPL Communications Inc / arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  8. Mary Did You Know?
    Lee Rufus Greene III, Mark Alan Lowry c/o Gaither Music Company
    (Word Music Inc c/o Warner/Chappell Music Canada Ltd. / arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  9. White Christmas
    (Irving Berlin / Irving Berlin Music c/o Williamson Music, arr. Brigham Phillips, Brigman Music)


  1. Once In Royal David’s City
    (C.F. Alexander, H.J. Gauntlett / arr. David Willcocks)
  2. I Wonder As I Wander
    (John Jacob Niles / G Schirmer Inc c/o Music Sales Corporation, arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  3. What Is This Lovely Fragrance?
    (French traditional, arr. Healey Willan / Gordon V Thompson Music c/o Warner/ Chappell Music Canada Ltd)
  4. Silent Night
    (Franz Gruber, arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  5. O Holy Night
    (Adolphe Adam, arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  6. Lo, How A Rose E’er Blooming
  7. In the Bleak Mid Winter
    (Christina Rossetti / Gustav Holst, arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  8. The Huron Carol
    (Father Jean de Brébeuf, arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)
  9. Away In A Manger
    (W.J. Kirkpatrick / arr. Elmer Iseler)
  10. Amazing Grace
    (Words by John Newton, arr. Brigham Phillips/Brigman Music)


Summing up her feelings about this production, Eleanor explained: “I feel very humbled by the talents of the many people who helped with the recording of this CD. It was such a privilege to work with them all - not to mention the fun we had making it! This album would not have been complete without their contributions and for that, I am grateful.”

Holiday was produced and arranged by acclaimed producer and musician, Brigham Philips. Rounding out the successful collaboration in the recording studio was Juno-award winning sound engineer John “Beetle” Bailey. Special guests include The Elmer Iseler Singers and Cindy Townsend. The CD also features the debut performance of Eleanor's daughter, Laura David. In addition, some of Canada’s finest musicians lent their talents to the tracks on this CD.

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