It’s the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and Point of Grace makes it even better with their Christmas album Winter Wonderland. The aforementioned song is the first track from their seasonal disc and somehow the foursome of Shelley Breen, Heather Payne, Denise Jones and Leigh Cappillino has come up with a song reminiscent of choral productions by the legendary King Family.

Years from now when the ladies of Point of Grace are rocking grandchildren in their arms this may very well be the album we all remember them for. Winter Wonderland has holiday classic written all over it.

When you open this Christmas package you are going to be blessed with the versatility, imagination and true four part harmonies that adorn this project. In a recent interview, Heather Payne gave credit to Tim Davis  for coaxing the best vocal harmonies from the ladies. She says, “He is a master at that kind of music.”

Brown Banister acted as producer and Steve Bishir did a wonderful job of mixing Point of Grace vocals and studio instrumentals with the sounds of the London Session Orchestra and the Philadelphia Boyschoir and Chorale.

John David Webster guests on “Let There Be Light”,  a new offering from the pens of Scott Krippayne and Marie Reynolds. The song features an incredible synthesizer introduction by Michael J. Nelson. This is an uplifting Christmas carol that should find it’s way onto future CCLI charts during the Christmas season.

The last time James Pierpont’s “Jingle Bells” sounded this much fun I was riding on a one horse open sleigh — true story. In Andrews Sisters fashion Point of Grace brings a jovial spirit and a touch of the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy sound to a song that should be a lot of fun to sing. Unless you are in your sixties or older I doubt anyone reading this review has heard “Jingle Bells” sung in this fashion. Sung with gusto and excellence this is the best modern day rendition of “Jingle Bells” that I have heard.

The emotionally stirring “Breath of Heaven”, originally authored by Amy Grant more than a decade ago, puts you in the middle of Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem. We often forget that Mary was no more than a young teenager. The arrangements for this track compliment the doubts and fears of a young woman, “I am waiting / In a silent prayer/  I am frightened / By the load I bear / In a world as cold as stone / Must I walk this path alone / Be with me now / Be with me now /.”

Recreating the standard “All Is Well”, Heather Payne’s vocals combine nicely with guest pianist Michael W Smith to remind us that God is still in control in a world that has been savaged by so many natural disasters this past year.

The ladies are at their frolicking best singing a medley of children’s tunes: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Once again they capture the sounds of an era I am too young to remember when they were in vogue but like you have heard over the years.

Copyright © 2006 Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved. This material may not be redistributed without prior written permission from Joe Montague. Joe Montague is an internationally published freelance journalist / photographer.

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