BANGOR, Maine — Editor's note: The video above aired Nov. 26, 2019.
Thirty-five years after it was written and recorded, "The Maine Christmas Song" has become a book. Published by McSea Books in Bangor, the words now have pictures to go along with them, inviting a new generation of kids to grow up with the music.
"Ever since I was a little girl I would, like many, I get the warm fuzzies [listening to "The Maine Christmas Song"] and a lot of nostalgia is hooked to that," said Stephanie Mulligan, founder of McSea Books. "At Otisfield Elementary School we performed it and we did sign language. It always stuck with me."
Mulligan said the idea for a picture book came on a whim a few years ago.
"My mom and I were listening to it in the kitchen and I started tearing up and she said, 'What a beautiful picture book this would make,'" she said. The song's writer, Con Fullam, was on board with the book, and illustrations by Cynthia Baker brought it to life.
Fullam admits that he had no idea how widespread the song would become when he wrote it. The idea for the song, much like the idea for a book, came on a whim. It started with an idea for a story by former NEWS CENTER Maine reporter Bob Elliot.
"Bob called me up the week before Christmas and said, 'I’m doing a story on the same old Christmas songs. Write me a Christmas song for the state of Maine.' And I went, 'Oh yeah, that’s kind of interesting. Maybe we can think about that next August,' and he said, 'No, I need it now. Just do it,'" said Fullam about that first conversation.
"So we just did it. I didn’t have any time to think about it so I just wrote something," Fullam said. "It was just going to be a little Bob Elliot story and then it got put on the air and things just blew up."
While the Maine Christmas Song is part of the rotation on local radio stations this time of year and is assigned to school children all over the state in music class, it had another bump in popularity when the song turned 30. That year, NEWS CENTER Maine teamed up once again with Fullam to record a new video, enlisting the help of its original vocalist, Malinda Liberty, and some of the original backup singers.
While Fullam didn't expect its popularity to last this long, he understands why.
"I think that a natural inclination for Maine is to share, is to give, is to help, is to be a part of a bigger community, and I think hopefully this song reflected that," he said. "People take it to heart."
You can find "The Maine Christmas Song" picture book at many local bookstores, on Amazon, and here.
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