It all began about 25 years ago with just a guitar and a handful of employees who wanted to share some Christmas cheer. Since then, the Lands’ End Choir has become one of our company’s most cherished holiday traditions. Starting every October, around 25 of us rehearse during our lunch break once a week—although often we can’t all be there at the same time. In December, we make our way around the Lands’ End campus, dressed in our jolliest Drifters™ and down vests, filling the lunchrooms with holiday tunes.
“The choir provides some stress relief during the hectic peak season,” says Phil DeKok, the Choir Director. A Senior IT Manager, Phil has been directing the choir for 22 years.
Over the years we’ve probably sung much of the well-known seasonal repertoire from traditional carols like “The Holly and the Ivy” and “Good King Wenceslas” to modern songs such as “Feliz Navidad” and “Mele Kalikimaka.”
This winter, we’ve added some new compositions, such as “Christmas in About Three Minutes,” a brief but boisterous medley. We’ve also returned to an old favorite, a unique Lands’ End version of “Jingle Bells,” which starts out:
Call Lands’ End, day or night, you’re on a shopping spree.
Phone us up for Christmas gifts and fast delivery
Of oxford shirts, denim skirts, socks and Super-Ts™.
Add a pair of corduroys and gift box if you please.
Phil’s personal favorite is “Still, Still, Still,” an Austrian carol arranged by Norman Luboff. “It’s hard to explain, but it transports me to a very different place and reflects my deep sense of faith,” he says.
In addition to performing around Lands’ End headquarters, the choir members share their talents in the local community. Every year there is a much-anticipated concert held at Grace Lutheran Church in Dodgeville in conjunction with the Iowa County Scenic Sounds, another, all-male chorus Phil directs. Singers also volunteer to sing at local nursing homes and hospitals. We’ve also bundled up and sung aboard the Lands’ End float during Dodgeville’s annual holiday parade. The choir isn’t just a Lands’ End tradition; it’s a fixture in Iowa County.
“The coolest thing the choir ever did,” explains Phil, “was to make a professional recording that was given to our top 100,000 customers.” The choir rehearsed heavily for four weeks and took an entire day make the recording at the Mineral Point Opera House. Phil jokes that “now, everyone who was part of that effort can say that they made a ‘Gold Record’”
While we don’t have a new album out this year, we’ve decided to share some of our customary holiday cheer right here. Enjoy!
From all of us to all of you,
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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