Bonhomme Hiver (Winter Wonderland)

This week I have chosen the famous Canadian chanteuse Ginette Reno's French version of Winter Wonderland, originally written in 1934 by lyricist Richard B. Smith and composer Felix Bernard.  I thought it would be nice to suggest a song performed in one of our country's official languages. A bonhomme is a snowman and in this French version the last line "au royaume de bonhomme hiver" that replaces "walking in a winter wonderland" translates to "In the kingdom of the winter snowman". 

Winter Wonderland is one of the most popular Christmas songs of all time and interestingly doesn't mention the holiday once in the lyrics though it does allude to the sound of sleigh bells. Apparently the lyricist who wrote it was inspired by the blanket of snow he saw one morning covering Honesdale Park, in the town he grew up in of the same name in Pennsylvania. According to what I recently read, Mr. Smith was in hospital at the time being treated for consumption, now known as tuberculosis. I'm guessing that with what he was going through at the time he was overwhelmed by the beauty of that magnificent wintery day and put pen to paper. 

The song has been recorded by hundreds of performers. It has charted numerous times over the years. Guy Lombardo, Johnny Mercer, Perry Como - the list goes on and on and on. If you choose to add this to your holiday play list you'll be astounded by the number of versions you can select from. 

This 2006 recording includes the recording of  Bonhomme Hiver  that I have included on my Swingin' Fitness holiday set list.

This 2006 recording includes the recording of Bonhomme Hiver that I have included on my Swingin' Fitness holiday set list.

 

Though your participants may not all speak French, this will not lessen the delight of your listeners as they, for the most part will be familiar with this song. They may hum over the verses, they may join in for the last line of the choruses and sing "walking in a winter wonderland" over the French lyrics. All that matters is that this song is pretty much guaranteed to make a joyful musical connection with your exercise participants at this most wonderful time of the year.