Tabulations and tallies. Count up the votes and count down the carols. This is the 5th year of our annual Christmas Carol Countdown, and I have to say it’s been fun seeing how different the votes are from year to year. Generally speaking, the top ten carols have been pretty stable in their popularity over the last five years, but even as I say that, I see that this year’s carol in the #3 spot didn’t garner a single vote in 2009. This year we're even giving away a couple prize packs of tickets, thanks to some great partners: The Denver Center Theater Company's A Christmas Carol, The Colorado Symphony's Too Hot to Handel, and The Colorado Ballet's The Nutcracker. I'll announce the winners during the program on Saturday.

Like most musicians, I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas music. It’s not as simple as saying I love it - up to a point of saturation. Actually, I think my perspective is even more snobbish. I love it when it’s well-done, and I can’t stand cheesy, insincere and over-stylized teen-pop versions of timeless Christmas carols and anthems that one hears walking around the mall. (Well, not this one. I studiously avoid the mall.) The reason I despise those versions is precisely because I am a musician and I have a fairly well-calibrated and sensitive cringe-ometer.

So if there’s one thing I particularly love about the CPR Classical Christmas Carol Countdown is that I get the wonderful opportunity to sift through all the votes of your favorites, tally the results, and then dive into the stacks of genuinely great performances of some of the most beloved music ever written. The Westminster Choir. Denver Brass. Philadelphia Orchestra and Chorus. RCA Victor Singers. King’s College. Cantus.

Oh, wait – the cringe-ometer is registering off the scale because apparently this year … I have help.

David Rutherford and "friend" in deliberations for this year's Christmas Carol Countdown.

(Photo: CPR/Mary Harrison)

The Christmas Carol Countdown airs a few times:

Saturday, December 14, 3-6p on CPR Classical
Christmas Eve (Tuesday), 7-10p on CPR News
Christmas Day, Noon-3p on CPR Classical

Look for this year's results along with the previous four years here on the Classical Page of just after 6p on Saturday the 14th. And have a very Merry Christmas!