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Kathy Troccoli - At Home For Christmas

  • 1999 11 Oct
Kathy Troccoli - At Home For Christmas

Christmas is a time for joy. Family gatherings, church activities and all aimed at celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

Yet, even in what many consider a time for joy, statistics show that it is the most depressing time of the year for single adults. Suicides increase, loneliness engulfs many and, for others, the busy and happy time for holiday church activities ends leaving them in total loneliness for the holiday.

As a single adult, {{Kathy Troccoli}} understands those feelings of loneliness.

While single in marital status, however, Troccoli has a family foundation that provides her the love and warmth that others miss during the Christmas season.

"It doesn't matter where I am, I will always get to my sister's house on Christmas Eve so I can wake up with her family on Christmas morning," reflects Troccoli, who grew up on Long Island with the Italian emphasis on family. "She's my one sister and I have nieces 15 and 16. It doesn't matter where I am or if it takes to midnight or 2 a.m. to get there - I'm there to wake up and celebrate Christmas with them."

This will be a special holiday season for the songstress as she releases ==A Sentimental Christmas==, her first seasonal release from Reunion Records.

The project has been on her mind for a number of years. In preparation for the song selection process, she has been purchasing and listening to Christmas albums both current and from the past. "So much of my time and my music and the concerts I do is totally about the message," said the first artist signed by Reunion back in the mid-80's.

"For the Christmas record, I told the company that I would love this record to be a record of standards. I've bought several holiday CDs and I found myself fast forwarding through the new songs and not really enjoying them. I wanted to hear the standards."

Click to hear a clip from "White Christmas"

Troccoli grew up in a traditional New York Italian family and music was an important part of the lifestyle. It was the traditional sound that has influenced her music and her planning for ==A Sentimental Christmas==. "I grew up listening to Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett," said the artist who trained at Boston's jazz-renowned Berkeley School of Music, "and these records still find their way into my stereo today.

"I told the Reunion people that we should make it a very traditional romantic-sounding and very warm Christmas record." Reunion president George King knew what she had in mind and went to the military - selected members of the internationally-renowned United States Navy Jazz Band - to get the musicians who gave this project and Troccoli the sound she was looking for.

Click to hear a clip from "It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year" with Andy Williams

"It is truly a traditional Christmas project and one I'm very proud of," the woman affectionately known as "KT" said. "I've had friends listen to this project and tell me straight out, 'Kathy, this is you.' As far as art goes, this is where I feel comfortable. I don't want to do my Jesus music in a big band setting because it might not seem right to some people. Yet, this is where I feel my art is best suited.

The music from this project will be a big part of Troccoli's Christmas activities this year. For a single woman, her emphasis on the holiday continues to be around friends and family. "As a kid growing up Italian in New York, I was already around a lot of extended family. Our extended family took a corner in Long Island and, as a result, I was already around family.

"Apart from some of the arguing, and all Italians know that's part of our culture, I really enjoyed having the family close. It would be a large group with a lot of food and sitting around the table from about 5 p.m. to midnight or so. We still get together to this day. I always looked forward to it and I still do."

Kathy makes a commitment to be active with friends and family during the Christmas season to help avoid those "single holiday blues." "I know how tough it is around Christmas to be single but I'm very thankful that my life is full with rich relationships. Because of my lifestyle and traveling so much, I've been able to be able to enjoy Christmas more than ever by being with friends.

"I have a great extended family and I do a party every year with friends. We do a talent show and turn it into a very special holiday celebration for all of us. This enables me not to feel as lonely as I might otherwise and being with my sister and her family continue the family ties that have existed all of my life."

Yet, despite all of the excitement of get-togethers and music during the Christmas season, Kathy also knows the feelings that singles share. "Do I long to have that special someone?" she asked. "Of course, I look forward to having that special person to share the Christmas season with.

Click to hear a clip from "Away In A Manger"

"It is such a romantic season and, as a New Yorker, I would love to walk down Fifth Avenue with someone who loves me and knows me in the sense of the male/female relationship. There have been Christmas eves and Christmas mornings when the loneliness creeps in. All of us that are single know what it's like. There are also lonely people who are married.

"I'd be a liar to say you don't experience it. A person can wallow in self-pity and let it drown you. That's why I value my family and friends. They are a support system to me in many ways. The key is finding a balance."

The feelings of love during the Christmas season are the basis for the only original song on the project. "Only Always" is co-written by Kathy and Jeff Franzel. "It is a song in the in the vintage style, the old ballad style," said the woman who has been very involved this year in women's conferences across the country. "I wrote the melody with Jeff a few years ago and put it in the list of songs unfinished.

"I just had a title, the melody and the picture of being in love and expressing that commitment at that time of year. It came out as very picturesque with the tree lit, snow falling and being able to tell that special person that you will always be there for you."

Click to hear a clip from "Only Always"

The tree is lit, the fire burns
The snow is falling but you're keeping my heart warm
The Music plays, the candles glow
And as you look at me I've got to let you know

It's Christmas time my darling
And all I can say
Is I'll love you
For only always

Asked about her favorite song on the album, she said, "I really don't have a favorite. It will probably be dependent on the day when I'm putting up the tree or riding in the car. It will switch day by day. I've never made a record where it was so easy and comfortable."

Perhaps the one song that KT will remember most from this album, however, will be a duet with the man many generations of Americans associate with Christmas - Andy Williams. "It's hard to believe that I sang with Andy Williams on the record. It was an unbelievable opportunity for me. He's one of the best crooners ever and he's right up there with the people I grew up listening to like Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett. I couldn't believe that he said yes to singing with me. I told him my parents would be going crazy to know I'm here with you."

"Our accents might be different and she might be from New York and me from Iowa," said Williams, whose holiday television specials brought in the holidays to U.S. households for decades, "but, in the language of music, we live on the same street."

This is not the first big band/jazz classic album for Troccoli in 1999. She did a secular ballad/jazz project earlier this year with {{Sandi Patty}} and the San Francisco Symphony released this summer by jazz label Monarch Records called ==Together==.

"This was a very special project for us. I remember watching an old Judy Garland television special when she did 'Happy Days Are Here Again' with Barbra Streisand. I went on one of Sandi's music cruises a few years ago and we did it on the cruise and people loved it. Sandi is a (George and Ira) Gershwin lover and I've always been a fan of Judy Garland. Now, that we share the same management, the idea was pitched to Monarch and they loved it.

"This is the music I love and feel comfortable with. It seems that I'm finally getting to do the musical essence of what I am. God is opening up the doors in this direction. Monarch is now talking to me about doing another project for them."

Regardless what form of music {{Kathy Troccoli}} sings, she has only one goal in sharing her musical skills and talent.

"My heart and my life, I pray, will always be about sharing Christ especially in my music. There is no greater joy I find when I hear how a song touched someone's life and how it rekindled their love for God or helped them meet the Lord or is helping them through the death of a relative or friend."