Tiny Desk

The Polyphonic Spree

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10 min 38 sec

This year marks the 10th anniversary for The Polyphonic Spree's annual holiday music show — an extravaganza the group has held in Dallas each December — and it's celebrating with a live tour and a new CD called Holidaydream, on which the band reworks versions of classics such as "Do You Hear What I Hear" and "White Christmas."

Last week, The Polyphonic Spree's members rolled up to NPR in their packed-to-the-gills bus and unloaded a small army of horn players, singers and assorted gear for the largest Tiny Desk performance we've ever hosted. The band members spent much of the day getting ready for the three-song set, puzzling out the logistics of getting that many people behind Bob Boilen's desk. But, they said, it's a "human Tetris game" they've played many times before, and by the early afternoon they were ready to go.

While many of the large groups we host at the Tiny Desk often opt for stripped-down performances, what you see here with The Polyphonic Spree is pretty close to the band's full-on production, with a horn section, cellist, guitars and drums — and, of course, the full group of singers, led by the wonderfully effusive Tim DeLaughter.

For this special holiday Tiny Desk performance, The Polyphonic Spree treated the NPR Music office to two traditional carols — "The Christmas Song" and "Silver Bells" — and the more modern John Lennon classic "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)."

Set List
  • "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"
  • "The Christmas Song"
  • "Silver Bells"
Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton; Editor: Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Mito Habe-Evans, Christopher Parks, Ryan Smith; photo by Lauren Rock/NPR

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