If you want to capture the true meaning of what Christmas in New Jersey is all about, then you've got to hear Ben Rauch's "Jersey Christmas". The song hit every aspect of the holiday season here in the Garden State. It's so Jersey it was co-written by Gaby Gold who for the sake of this post we'll call "Gabba Gool"

"Jersey Christmas" talks about all things Jersey like diner food, Bon Jovi and Springsteen playing on the jukebox, Peppermint Schnapps Frankie Valli and of course the turnpike went on to win the 'Best Music Video' award at NJ's Golden Door International Film Festival.

Rauch, who hails from Marlboro's last single, "The Emoji Song" won an American Songwriting Award, a USA Songwriting Competition Award for Best Comedy Song, The Hollywood Songwriting Competition and four Global Music Awards for Best Male Vocalist, Best Lyrics/Songwriter, Best Song, and Best Music Video.  He has performed both in our New Jersey 101.5 studios.

But Rauch took "Jersey Christmas" to another level by having both an adult choir and children's choir each record the song. He explains:

attachment-Ben Rauch

"The idea came about for a School Choir Version for Middle Schools and High Schools of "Jersey Christmas" because I was in choir in High School and we would have a Christmas/Holiday concert every year. There would be Christmas music and Hanukkah music and though some of it was peppy, happy, or pop, none of it was really intentionally funny. For sure none of it mentioned New Jersey and the way we do the Holidays different than any other state! There are so many churches and community theaters in the great state of NJ that do Christmas/Holiday concerts too (Jersey Christmas had already been sung for years at various church holidays concerts) and I wanted them to have an arranged version of the song to sing as well"

A little thing like the pandemic did not stop Rauch in his Christmas quest;.

"The best way to introduce these versions was with virtual choir videos. I hired a casting director and we had online auditions, it was a blast seeing so many people sing the chorus of this song in so many different ways. 200+ adults replied to the audition notice and 250+ kids/teens. The casting director narrowed it down and then we looked through the finalists and we got the people we wanted. Some were from NJ and some weren't. (There are a few people we cast from Canada, but I think they really want to be spending the holidays in NJ!) I then had rehearsals on Zoom with the adults and kids/teens and sent them practice tracks I made. When they were ready, I sent them detailed instructions on how to record (it's more complex than people think) and they sent me back their videos to send to the editors. In the final videos, we had 19 adults and 24 kids ages 9 - 19. None of us ever rehearsed in the same room!"

What Rauch learned about Jersey Christmas is that it's applicable everywhere

'I am amazed at the fact that this is a regional Christmas song about NJ that has such a wide appeal and that someone in Canada said, "I want to have a Jersey Christmas this year!" Not just Christmas, a "Jersey Christmas." I am thinking to myself...Can you do that? In Los Angeles, they sing "White Christmas" when it's not usually white, so I guess you can have a "Jersey Christmas" anywhere! Who knows, maybe Middle School and High School Choirs in Tennessee will be singing this! What a Christmas present that will be!"

All three versions of Jersey Christmas can be purchased everywhere digital music is streamed, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Google Play, and iTunes,

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise. Any opinions expressed are Steve's own. Steve Trevelise is on New Jersey 101.5 Monday-Thursday from 7pm-11pm. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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