06 December 2018

The Holly and the Ivy

Generally when we think of Ichabod Crane, our thoughts jump to a horseman with a flaming pumpkin head and the frantic chase the two had through Sleepy Hollow. That shiver inducing tale is wonderful when Halloween comes to Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom, but what about Christmas? As it turns out there is a reason to consider Ichabod as Christmas rolls around.

Starting with the obvious, a musically inclined sign informs guests that Ichabod offers music and voice lessons in Liberty Square, by appointment only of course. This sign sets up the story that Ichabod’s studio is actually one of three distinct environments that makes up the various rooms of Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, with the other two being for a colonial residence and a woodworker’s shop. Each room has a distinct feel and design to it, whether that feels like a well-worn and loved house that is clearly lived in or a woodcarver’s shop filled with hunks of wood, iron tools, and completed toys that are absolutely charming. When it comes to Ichabod’s music and voice lessons, however, you can definitely tell that music is serious business.

Ichabod’s corner of the shop is filled with instruments and musical notes everywhere you look. From the music stand with a copy of The Fly (no, not that The Fly) and a flute to the framed parchment paper filled with lyrics and notes hanging on the walls, music is all around. It is the framed sheet music that interests us at this joyous time of year. Considering that these pieces of music are framed and hung prominently, it is clear that they are some of Ichabod’s favorite carols to train his students with during Christmas time. The three songs in question are I Saw Three Ships, The Holly and the Ivy, and Joy to the World.

While Joy to the World would have become standard between the time it was first published in the late 1700s and when Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman burst onto the literary scene in 1820, The Holly and the Ivy would have been a more contemporary song having only been distributed since the mid-1810s. I Saw Three Ships is a bit stickier to get a date pinned down, while it wasn’t commonly published until 1833, there have been copies of the music dating back to the 1600s. It appears that Ichabod had a thing for contemporary classics, as well as deeper cuts.

The next time you think that the tales of Sleepy Hollow are best served up at Halloween, remember, that you’re absolutely right. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should complete cast off the memory of Ichabod when the calendar rolls around to the holiday season, he still has a song in his heart, and on his walls, that is worth taking note of.

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