Not long ago, in the almost-distant past, the sound of a single note of a single Christmas carol or holiday hymn could throw me into a fit of profound rageshakes.
No, I wasn’t vying for the part of Scrooge every year, I was merely a seasonal retail refugee, still suffering a form of shell-shock particular to those who have endured too many Christmases servicing the various needs of the varied customers who make their way in droves to malls and other shopping centers as soon as the doors swing open on Black Friday.
For me, it was not the most wonderful time of the year, and the cheery tones of “Jingle Bells” or “Holly Jolly Christmas” served as bitter reminders of that fact.
However, time and distance from the retail rat race have fully restored my spirit of the season, and with it, my love of Christmas carols. This is a good thing, when you consider (as I now do) all of the many holiday concerts and opportunities for Christmas caroling that abound around these parts from now until Santa makes his rounds Dec. 25. (For an example of just how many of these holiday musical events there are, see the plentiful array of calendar listings on the next page.)
One of the reasons I am so glad my love of all things Christmas has been rekindled is that my “Bah! Humbug!” attitude would certainly have caused me to forgo Brandi Carlile’s very special holiday concert that will take place at 8pm Sun., Dec. 9 at the Mount Baker Theatre.
And that surely would’ve been a mistake.
After all, the Ravensdale, Wash. chanteuse is a proven favorite with local audiences—and audiences everywhere these days—and to miss her would be to give up the opportunity to see her always-compelling and charismatic live show. As well, along with the aforementioned Christmas music, Carlile is also touring in support of her most recent album, Bear Creek, which was produced by Grammy-winning powerhouse Trina Shoemaker (whose past clients have ranged from Emmylou Harris to Queens of the Stone Age) and released to much critical acclaim.
As for what songs of the season Carlile will put her distinctive stamp on, that has yet to be revealed, although she does have an original holiday tune in her extensive quiver of music. And, as part of the good deeds she does on behalf of her Looking Out Foundation, Carlile has asked that concertgoers bring new, unwrapped toys to her show, which will, in turn, be donated to the various charities she so generously supports (she’s promised a gift to all who donate, just in case altruism isn’t enough of an incentive).
While I once scoffed at such a notion, these days I have to say, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
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