Swiss Guard celebrates Christmas on a musical note

2012-12-21 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) Music is not something one immediately associates with the Pontifical Swiss Guard. These men who wear the distinctive Renaissance style dress uniform of blue, red, orange and yellow are usually to be found guarding Vatican entrances, answering tourists’ queries and most importantly ensuring the personal safety of the Pope.

But this year the guards, who do on occasion, perform at Papal events, have added quite literally another string to their bow. Christmas music.

For weeks members of this highly trained force have been busy rehearsing in their barracks inside the Vatican to perform on a CD of Christmas Carols entitled, “Christmas with the Pontifical Swiss Guard.”

The CD, which was recorded at the studios of Vatican Radio, features five Swiss Guards and Paraguayan harpist Daniela Lorenz performing well know favourites such as “Little Drummer Boy”, Silent Night and Adeste Fideles as well as a number of other German and Italian carols .

"Most of them are German Christmas songs, so they are well known in the German part of Europe, but they are just instrumentals, without singing, without lyrics."

Swiss Guard Julian Murmann got to use his musical talents on the CD

"I'm playing the drums, exactly, so I am just playing for four songs."

Another Swiss Guard musician featured on the CD is Franz Hurlimann.

"I am playing the saxophone, my part is the second saxophone because their of two of us who are playing the saxophone."

He says it will it is the best present he could give his family.

"That's the best present I can give because it's very special, nobody, not many can do that."

This album adds to the festive cheer decending on the Vatican in the form of the traditional Christimas tree and Nativity scene and as Pope Benedict’s is well known for his love of music, this Christmas compilation of carols by the Swiss Guards should make the perfect festive gift for their Ceremonial Chief. Listen to this report by Lydia O'Kane