Christmas Time in Our Little Town
Nicholas DiFabbio Provides the Music
By Pam Johnson
The Guilford Courier
Published on 11/29/2007
In the hands of Nicholas DiFabbio, Guilford’s tree lighting has been immortalized in song. With beautiful vocals provided by his daughter, Marialena, Nicholas crafted music and lyrics to Christmas Time in Our Little Town, which is also the name of his new, 10-song CD of original Christmas songs. Like so many tunes on the contemporary “Christmas Time” CD, its title song is easy to embrace and instantly transports listeners to their holiday happy place. Nicholas says influences from soul to the Beatles flavor many tracks on the CD, produced at his Guilford home studio. “Being a fan of the Beatles, I drew a lot of inspiration from them. I’m very influenced by [producer] George Martin’s orchestral sensibilities.” His song “Piece by Piece” opens with a calliope theme a la the Beatles’ “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite.” On “We’re Having Christmas Time (No War Tomorrow)” Nicholas layers in Vietnam-era sound effects to produce what he sees as a “…reflection of what’s going on now in Iraq.” The song weaves a musical intro inspired by the Beatles’ “I am the Walrus” with samples from Bob Hope’s Christmas special from Vietnam. Its main lyric lines are “…snippets from traditional Christmas carols, strung together,” Nicholas says. The song fades out with newsman Walter Cronkite’s 1968 commentary on ending the Vietnam War. “We’re Having Christmas Time,” and four more songs were developed by Nicholas in just this past year. Other songs arrived over the course of two decades, including the very first song he wrote and recorded as a demo (in 1977), “I Felt This Way All Year.” In 2001, Nicholas was teaching music for East Haven public schools and needed a song for a holiday concert when he came up with “The Child is Christmas,” the first track on the CD. “The reaction to the song was great, and I decided to have Marialena [then 11] record it. It was obvious by that point that Marialena could really sing, and I can still today feel the goose bumps from the recording session. The song came alive.” Nicholas happily admits spending “hours and hours” perfecting CD tracks. The tenor’s plaintive vocals on the CD’s final track “Too Much Christmas” admits to some “…reflective disillusionment” with the season, he says, while other songs on the CD also shine, thanks to vocal assists from his wife, Sue, and their three children. Marialena appears on many of the CD’s tracks. The 2006 GHS grad is a GHS Voices alumnus now studying music at Bennington College. Her brother, Lucas, a GHS senior, is a current Voices member and GHS concert band musician. Little sister Annaliese is a freshmnan and plays flute for GHS concert band. “All the music programs in Guilford are fantastic. All of the teachers are wonderful,” says Nicholas. Last holiday season, working with Baldwin chorus director Jan Shames, Nicholas contributed “I Felt this Way All Year.” Shames arranged the lyrics to Nicholas’ musical track. On the CD, the DiFabbio version of “I Felt this Way All Year,” features Sue’s rich, resonant voice trading with Marialena’s vibrant vocals. There’s little doubt the DiFabbio kids get at least some of their talent from their musically inclined parents, who met at college and lived in New York City before arriving in Guilford 10 years ago. “As a family, I guess we do talk music a lot,” says Nicholas, a career musician who performs with orchestras at Broadway musicals. Nicholas mostly plays electric and acoustic guitar as well as mandolin, ukulele, and banjo when engaged as a Broadway musician. He got his first gig as a Les Miserables substitute and currently plays for Broadway productions including Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone, Curtains, and Mary Poppins. While he’s produced and composed original songs as singles for family and friends over past holidays, this is the first full “family CD,” he says. As he’s done in past years, Nicholas plans to share the music with neighbors and friends. In addition, he’s decided to make a small pressing of 100 copies to offer locally. He hopes people who pick up the CD will come away with a feeling of Christmas. “Christmas, to me, is a feeling that’s about the human spirit. That’s what I like about it.” To learn more about Christmas Time in Our Little Town or to read the lyrics to the title song, visit www.christmasourlittletown.com.