Thirty seasons of
"Christmas in the Valley" was written by Central New York singer-songwriter Mark Werchowski during a single night in the Fall of 1991. Filled with references to local villages and landmarks, the song reflects on the Christmas spirit in the Mohawk Valley.
Just weeks later, on November 10, 1991, Mark entered Acqrok Studios on Genesee Street in Utica to record the song with his band, Dillinger, and a chorus full of local musicians and media personalities, as well as their friends and family.
The cassette hit store shelves in time for the holidays and sold 1,000 copies in 10 days, with the profits benefitting the Stevens-Swan Humane Society. The song became a hit on local radio and has been in regular holiday rotation since 1991.
On December 17, 2016, the song was re-released in a limited edition pressing. A limited number of copies are still available. For purchase information, please click here.
Mark with the guitar he used to write "Christmas in the Valley." Early 1990s, Oriskany, NY. Photo by Jennifer Werchowski.
The original credits from the 1991 cassette jacket of "Christmas in the Valley."
Part of the Dillinger Volunteer Chorus records under the mics at Acqrok Studios. November 10, 1991, Utica, NY.
Members of the band Dillinger (Jim Kelly, Dan Budzynski, Mark Werchowski, and Jim Palitti) pose with Nancy McElwain of Stevens-Swan Humane Society.
Part of the Dillinger Volunteer Chorus poses with Mark for a photo at Acqrok Studios. November 10, 1991, Utica, NY.
The original 1991 cassette artwork was created by local artist Lynne Hemmes Browne.
A decade later, the song was released on CD for the first time.
The 25th Anniversary Edition features a remastered version of the original 1991 artwork.
In 2011, a music video was assembled by Mark's daughter, Alexis, from archival footage of the recording session to commemorate the song's 20th Anniversary.
The 25th Anniversary Edition was released in a limited run of 200 copies on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
For purchase information, please click here.