A dear granddaughter sings ‘Santa Baby’

— Music has always filled the Condon family’s Fourth Street home.

Patriarch Don Condon plays chromatic harmonica, matriarch JeanEllen plays piano, as does daughter Colleen. Daughters Ellen and Nan performed in school bands, and sons Don. Jr., Mark, Keith and Paul harmonized barbershop tunes. Nowadays Don Jr. teaches music in Indiana, Paul sings opera professionally and Keith vocalizes with the Syracuse’s Mario DeSantis Orchestra.

And Don and Jean’s grand-daughter, Brianna Condon, now carries on the family tradition. The 17-year-old senior at West Genesee High School sang with the DeSantis Orchestra for the first time this past summer at a Candlelight Concert in Armory Square. One of the songs she performed then was “Our Day Will Come.” You can say that again!

The daughter of Keith Condon and his wife, choreographer Terri Baracco, Brianna studies dance at Caitlan Clark’s Studio and took voice lessons from Cathy Moncrief.  On Sunday, Dec. 16, she stood in the centerstage spotlight at Christmas at the Palace with the DeSantis Orchestra. Her performance was part of a segment called “The Musical Future” also showcasing vocalist Michael Ranalli and saxophonist Dunham Hall. Brianna’s older sister, Aubrey Condon, helped with program graphics.  

Brianna opened the show with a carefully phrased cover of Eartha Kitt’s sultry “Santa Baby.”

With lyrics by Joan Javits, the niece of U.S. Sen. Jacob Javits, and music by composer Phil Springer, the song is a tongue-in-cheek Christmas list sung by a woman who asks for extravagant gifts such as fur coats, a yacht and decorations from Tiffany’s. It’s one of only two hit Christmas songs written by a woman, the other being “Little Drummer Boy” penned by Katherine Kennicott Davis in 1941 and popularized by the Harry Simeone Chorale in 1958.

Before she waxed “Santa Baby” for RCA Victor on Oct. 6, 1953, Eartha Kitt had just completed a run on Broadway with New Faces of 1952 along with Mel Brooks, Carol Burnett and Paul Lynde. After “Santa Baby” became a big hit, she reprised the song in the 1954 film of the New Faces musical revue.

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