Trevor Hurtig talks holiday music

November 2022

One thing that sets a tone for the holiday season is music. We asked Trevor Hurtig, the General Manager of the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium and aspiring musician in his own right to share his favourites.

Everything before 1970

“I may be cheating a bit here, but in the number five position, I would put just about every Christmas song recorded prior to 70’s – All of the classics including, White Christmas, Blue Christmas, Holly Jolly Christmas, Silver Bells, Little Drummer Boy, Silent Night, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty, Rudolph and A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack to name just a few. There really isn’t a classic Christmas song that I don’t like. I have fond memories of my grandparents taking us to their Gyro Christmas Parties at the Royal Edward Hotel when I was young. There was a gentleman named Art Higgins, who led us in singing the classic Christmas songs while his wife accompanied him on the piano. Of course, the singing wrapped up with a visit from Santa Claus. As a result, any classic Christmas song brings very fond memories for me.

Bob Dylan – Must Be Santa

Bob makes the list for no other reason than the video is hilarious. Leave it to Bob Dylan to turn Must Be Santa into a wild and bizarre polka party. The song stands up quite well on its own for fun and originality, but the video is the icing on the cake!

Keith Richards - Run Run Rudolph

Keith captures the spirit of Chuck Berry’s original, while still making the song entirely his own. Keith’s solo projects have always included some of the top musicians in the business, and they collectively lock in a driving rock groove with a touch of swing on this song. Although I have no way of proving it, I believe that recordings like this helped pave the way for the A Very Special Christmas albums that spawned so many modern Christmas hits.

John Lennon – Happy Xmas (War is Over)/Band Aid’s Do They know it’s Christmas

Yes, I am cheating again by putting two songs together. But, they both really capture the spirit of what Christmas should be all about. Lennon used the spirit of Christmas and his fame to help promote his message of peace, and some of the top British and Irish musicians used their fame to raise money to aid victims of the Ethiopian famine in the 1980s.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Christmas All Over Again

This song was part of the A Very Special Christmas 2 album, and it is the one Christmas song that I never get tired of listening to. I love the sound of a big rock band that is working in total sync – like a well-oiled machine. This song represents Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers doing what they did best. In a very simple and plain way, the song captures the hustle and bustle of the holidays, but also offers an image of friends and family getting together and sharing the spirit of togetherness. It accomplishes all of this through a driving, rock beat that almost makes you forget that it is a Christmas song. I also enjoy the fade out at the end where Petty runs through a personal list of Christmas wishes including a new guitar, amp and Chuck Berry song book”.

For a full list of holiday concerts including Barenaked Ladies: Hometown Holidays and the TBSO’s Holiday Pops go to

Bill Wrightsell is a marketing consultant and regular contributor to Bayview Magazine. Email him at

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