The Gunter Kallmann Choir – Christmas Sing In (1970)

FrontCover1At first glance, the Gunter Kallmann Chorus looks like a German version of the Ray Conniff Singers, all clean cut and smiling as they heartily sing out their phonetically precise English lyrics to international pop hits (“Moore then the grate-hest laaf I giff to Hugh”). Then you notice something odd, some annoying, persistent ambient noise. Like some leftover from a bad dub. You check the stereo. Still there. What the hell is that? It never goes away. God, it’s irritating. So much for this record. As you slip it back into the sleeve your eye catches some fine print beneath the words, “Gunter Kallmann Chorus”: “with Orchestra and Bells.”

Yes, Gunter Kallmann has the bright idea to accompany his cheery singers with a string orchestra and an ensemble of bell ringers. Throughout every number, the bells tinkle away in harmony to the melody. They never go away. It is possibly the most consistently irritating sound in the archives of space age pop, like a mosquito buzzing in your ear. Thousands of listeners in Germany and America must have liked it, because Gunter and his gang had several Top 10 hits in Germany, most notably “Elizabeth Serenade,” also known as “Serenade for Elizabeth.”

Hot on the heels of Horst Jankowski’s international success with “A Walk in the Black Forest,” Kapp Records when looking for a Horst sound-alike and snatched up the next German choral/instrumental group that was lying around without an American distribution contract. They didn’t have quite the same level of success as Mercury did with Jankowski, but somebody must have bought the records, because Kapp went on to release at least nine albums between 1965 and 1970. (by


Frontcover from Spain

This album, in a nutshell, is an experience!

The chorus sings their heart out, complete with German accents and tones. In the middle of one medley, the chorus sings the soft, reverent tones of “Silent Night”, then burst into “Ding Dong Merrily On High” with all the force of an oompah band!

The orchestra swings, one moment lush and full of strings, then getting down and funky with the bassline coming across loud and clear. Throughout most of the album, the arrangements tend to favor the orchestra member on glockenspiel, chimes, or bells. It’s cute at times, annoying most of the time. By the end of the album, you want to shove those bells down someone throat.

The standout track is song number one – “We Wish You A Merry Christmas / Jingle Bells / Where Did My Snowman Go?”. “We Wish You” begins in a rather Teutonic way, then switches into smooth 70s mode. It then switches into a bells blazin’ version of “Jingle” only to be followed by a funky cover of “Where Did My Snowman”. It’s a mini opera and sets the tone for the rest of the album handsomely.

Other favorite tracks on this album include “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer / Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”, “Once In Royal David’s City / The Holly And The Ivy” is an epic, “Happy Holiday / I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, and “Mistletoe And Holly / Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow”. (by

And some tracks were arranged by Mike Vickers … oh yes, the guy who played for many years with Manfred Mann.


Alternate frontcover

The Gunter Kallmann Choir



01. Medley 01: (3:43)
01.1. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
01.2. Jingle Bells
01.3. Where Did My Snowman Go

02. Medley 02: (2:47)
02.1. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer
02.2. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

03. Medley 03: (3:27)
03.01. The First Noel
03.02. Silent Night
03.03. Ding Dong Merrily On High

04. Medley 04: (2:54)
04.1. The Little Drummer Boy
04.2. December Dream

05. Medley 05: (3:23)
05.01. Winter Wonderland
05.02. The Season Of Winter

06. Medley 06: (2:50)
06.01. One In Royal David’s City
06.02. The Holly And The Ivy

07. Medley 07: (3:23)
07.01. While The Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
07.02. Away In A Manger
07.03. Good King Wenceslas

08. Medley 08: (2:32)
08.01. Happy Holiday/
08.02. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

09. Medley 09: (3:07)
09.01. Little Donkey
09.02. Do You Hear What I Hear

10. Medley 10: (2:32)
10.1. Mistletoe And Holly
10..2. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

11. Medley 11: (2:59)
11.1. Christmas Alphabet
11.2. White Christmas

12. Medley 12: (4:32)
12.1. Oh Come All Ye Faithful
12.2. God Rest Ye
12.3. Hark The Herald Angels Sing