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David Archuleta, The Little Drummer Boy

David Archuleta Retrospective Series Part Nine: The Little Drummer Boy


By Pamela Pike and Rosanne Simunovic

Pamela Pike’s Recollections

The “Little Drummer Boy” originally known as “Carol of the Drums” was written by the American Classical music composer and teacher Katherine K. Davis in 1941. It was recorded in 1955 and further popularized by a 1958 recording by the Harry S. Simeone Chorale, arranged by Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone. It’s been a perennial holiday favorite ever since then
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The singers lyrics relates how, as a poor young boy, he was summoned by the Magi to the nativity where, without a gift for the baby Jesus, he played his drum with the Virgin Mary’s approval, remembering, “I played my best for Him” and “He smiled at me”.

David’s take on “Little Drummer Boy” was an ambitious choice considering many had already laid down a definitive version of the song. So what did David bring to the table, restraint for one thing, maintaining the traditional feel of the original standard that we’ve grown to love?

A beautiful voice packed with emotion, soul and vulnerability, poignant. The music is kept in a traditional style, but David’s performance was quite spirited and lively.

David puts his own original spin on everything he does. His 2011 Christmas Tour version features lots of drums and lots of interesting vocal nuances to make you truly appreciate his need to be original. It’s an unexpected yet amazing match that catches you off guard
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Music producer, Dapo Torimiro released a Christmas album called Dapo & Friends Christmas Volume 1. He collaborated with a lot of amazing artists remaking many of the Christmas classics. One of them was David Archuleta with their version of “Little Drummer Boy”. It is deeply affecting and touching.

We all love singing the Christmas Carol “The Little Drummer Boy”, a beautiful song lyrically and melodically. Our hearts swell as the poor boy offers his best, meager gift to the Baby in the manger, and we smile in joy as the infant Lord graciously smiles His Thanks.

The unmatched phenomenal voice of David so beautiful and controlled, mellow and mature sends chills down my spine. Such a humble entertainer, such an overwhelming talent!

You are guaranteed a satisfying, meaningful, and somewhat nostalgic Christmas Music that even your boy band listening kids will love.

God only made so many perfect singing voices and David Archuleta surely got one of them.

Rosanne Simunovic’s Recollections

I must share a very cute story involving my 16-month-old grandson and David’s performance of “The Little Drummer Boy”.

Back in December 2011, my grandson, who was 10-months-old at the time, was mastering the art of standing and walking through the support of furniture located around the house. He couldn’t quite get there on his own but, daily, his little legs were getting stronger and stronger.

Then one afternoon, I decided to play David’s video performance of “The Little Drummer Boy” on my IPad. Well, to say that my grandson was mesmerized by David’s voice would be an understatement.

He intently watched David as he sang through the first three verses with his signature style – passionately communicating the music and lyrics in own special way. It was a special moment between Grandson and Grandmother.

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But then something truly exciting happened. When both the percussive background and David’s inner rockstar started to kick into high gear, my grandson became incredibly excited. He left my side, went to the middle of the floor and started to bend and stand to the rhythm of the music. And wouldn’t stop to come up for air! It was one of those “oh my goodness” moments! Where did this come from?

Here he was – bending and standing on his own, spurred on by the intense passion and drive in David’s voice. And he matched the rhythmic tempo as well. I just couldn’t get over it!

This scene was re-enacted all afternoon, becoming stronger by the minute. And, because he heard me say “You did it, Yay!” each time he showcased his new developmental trick, he decided to speak those words as well. Speaking and standing at the same time? The miracle of David’s voice? I like to think so. There is no other explanation for this metamorphosis.

When his parents returned from work that evening, they were treated to quite a spectacle. It was an early Christmas gift, thanks to David and his innate ability to inspire and motivate!
David’s performance of this song was absolutely brilliant. How he came up with this unique concept for this song is inexplicable and testament to the depth and maturity of David’s musical gifts.

It has to be one of my favorite Christmas performances by David. My hope is that it will find its way on to a recording at some point in time. I feel that it is destined to be a classic – timeless and true, like its vocal artist – David James Archuleta.

Bravo David and thank you for helping my grandson (whose middle name is David – another great coincidence)- move closer to the walking stage before he hit the 1-year-old mark! Hopefully, this indicates that my grandson has somehow inherited your love and passion for music. One can only dream!

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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

14 Responses to “David Archuleta Retrospective Series Part Nine: The Little Drummer Boy”

  1. I love both versions of Drummer Boy by David, but the Dapo version fascinates me because he uses that lower register during almost the entire song. It just shows the diversity of David’s abilities and what amazing sounds can come out of that young man.
    Pamela – Your story of your grandson is so sweet. Did you videotape it?

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  2. MCL, I love that you can see what we see in David, his beautiful voice & humility. Never heard Drummer Boy sung like David did. Just beautiful.

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  3. Thank you so much for the wonderful retrospective. Love the intensity of the live “rocker” version by David of LDB but I am mesmerized by the recorded version with Dapo esp. by his beautiful lower registers. High or low notes, David takes command of a song with masterful control yet is able to produce a touching but powerful sound. Looking forward to more reviews esp. songs from his BEGIN. album!

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  4. I LOVE both of David’s versions of LDB! Thanks for this wonderful article. Here’s a YouTube link to the Dapo & Friends recording. Best wishes all!

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  5. AWWW! the story of your grandson is so cute! This was my favorite song from the MKOC tour. So much fun. Well, this one and This Christmas.

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  6. MCL, I love how you hear what we do regarding David’s gorgeous VOICE! It also seems your grandson was born with “hunkerdown” abilities! So cute!
    I would’ve loved to have seen David perform this live! Thank goodness for the videos all have shared!

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  7. Hi MCL!!!

    I loved your little grandson story! Being a grammy too, I totally understand those special times when our “grands” surpass our expectations! David has such an inate ability to connect each song to our hearts. Even little ones can feel the beauty of his music and the emotion that it brings to the surface. I have always felt that David’s voice always works in unison with his heart….like no other. Everyone who hears him sing for the first time….young and old alike…is in for an unexpected experience. . His talent is undeniable and his heart is so infectious.!!! No matter what David sings….one can expect inner stirrings of emotion of some kind!

    “God only made so many perfect singing voices and David Archuleta surely got one of them.”

    Amen to that Pam!!! He is in a class by himself and has awakened my love of music again!!! Both his voice and his heart bring such joy.

    Thank you so much MCL and Pam!!!. You always capture the essence of David and his music so beautifully! :) You are quite the team. You both bring such color and vision to your writing. I enjoy you both!

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  8. Love it :)

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  9. I love this story of your grandson reacting to David’s voice…I know what I feel when I hear it…but even being an adult, I can’t put into words how his music makes me feel….sometimes I just find myself yelling out….(although mostly no one is around to hear me)… ‘do you HEAR that ??!! he’s so incredible’…. !!! lol…

    and just a little FYI.. I saw David after the show in PA and had a chance to chat with him… I asked him how the drumming of this song came about… he said this…’it was my dad’s idea actually, but he wanted me to play the snare drum. I said ‘no’, I want to play the drums with Steven’… I told him it’s a HUGE hit with us fans.

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  10. Versatility is what David showed in this performance. A great voice that matches his wholehearted message of what Christmas is all about. I’m looking forward to many more brilliant Christmas Music Specials when David returns from his Mission..#DA2014.

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  11. It has always fascinated me about David that he is able to take a song that I have heard countless times, a song I was convinced I understood; and he compels me to listen again. It doesn’t matter whether it is a meaningful song like “Little Drummer Boy” or fun songs like “Shop Around”; part of his amazing talent is to demonstrate just how much the lyrics do matter. I truly appreciate this gift from David.

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  12. I saw David sing “Little Drummer Boy” at his Salt Lake City show. By then he had sang it several times before & he did such a fantastic job that night. I agree that David can take a song that we’ve heard many times before & make it his own. Great read MCL and the part about your grandson was adorable!

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  13. MCL, I’m finding it very hard to comment as this song epitomizes David’s MKoC Tour which is still difficult for me to think about…but maybe in 2014? However, I would like to say, a dear riend/fan reminded me of the lyrics and how David brought them to life with this performance, “I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
    I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum rum pum pum pum…” And in my humble (but correct) opinion, David surely did.

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  1. “I missed you Mr. David Archie Archuleta” | SnowAngelz: Canadian fans of David Archuleta - November 2, 2012

    [...] review of David Archuleta’s “Little Drummer Boy” on MasterclassLady’s blog HERE. “God only made so many perfect singing voices and David Archuleta surely got one of [...]

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