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Celebrating A Charlie Brown Christmas at the Met

Meryl Cates
December 16, 2014

«This month, the Met is presenting a celebration of one of the holiday season's most iconic movies: A Charlie Brown Christmas. As people all over begin to celebrate with friends and family and decorate their homes, this film will debut on the Grace Rainey Rogers stage just in time for its fiftieth anniversary. (The television special aired on CBS for the first time in December of 1965.)»

A Charlie Brown Christmas Courtesy of Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez Productions © 2014 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

The ultimate in holiday cheer, A Charlie Brown Christmas—with its sparse, yet lovable, little tree and snappy tunes—has become as ingrained in holiday pop culture as the ugly Christmas sweater. On December 20 and 21, the film will come to life on the big screen while accompanied by live music performed by the Rob Schwimmer Trio and the Church of the Heavenly Rest Children's Choir.

Left: A Charlie Brown Christmas courtesy of Lee Mendelson and Bill Melendez Productions © 2014 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

A vibrant interpretation of the classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas 50th Anniversary Celebration with Live Music will mix exact melodies from the original with new arrangements (by Rob Schwimmer) to commemorate and rejoice in jazz musician Vince Guaraldi's great compositions. All of those jazzy interludes will be played by the Rob Schwimmer Trio (Schwimmer on piano, Brad Jones on bass, and David Cossin on drums), and while some of the most identifiable songs will retain their distinctive choral melodies, the mood of the pieces and some of the notes will have an altogether new flair.

Schwimmer, who has been working on the program for months and is well experienced when it comes to scoring movies, describes the process of arranging the music as a puzzle in which he aimed to retain the "sweetness of the melody," but with a fresh interpretation that still works with the film's well-known mood and maintains the integrity of the beloved music. For the jazz pieces, the Trio wanted to stay open to improvisation, so that the sound remains authentic and geared towards the movie dialogue and overall vibe of the live performance.

Left: Church of the Heavenly Rest Children's Choir. Top Right: Rob Schwimmer. Bottom Right: Mark Stewart
Left: Church of the Heavenly Rest Children's Choir; photo courtesy of the artist. Top right: Rob Schwimmer; © Julie Mardin. Bottom right: Mark Stewart; photo courtesy of the artist

To add even more to the festivity of this special event, there will be a holiday sing-along following each screening led by multi-instrumentalist, singer, and composer Mark Stewart and Schwimmer; it will, of course, include all of the season staples like "Jingle Bells," "White Christmas," and "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town."

While there are four performances (December 20 at 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and December 21 at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.), tickets are going very quickly. Whether you're looking for a fun experience to share with the family (or friends), or you are just a Charlie Brown Christmas fan, this is an exciting way to get into the holiday spirit and see this classic anew.

Please note: No children under age 4 permitted.

To purchase tickets to any Met Museum Presents event, visit; call 212-570-3949; or stop by the Great Hall Box Office, open Monday–Saturday, 11:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Meryl Cates

Meryl Cates is a senior publicist in the Communications Department.