Music

Jingle Bells

Christmas concerts, take two

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

In last week’s online issue of Cascadia Weekly, I chronicled a number of virtual holiday concerts designed to bring the sounds of the season to life in a year when “bringing to life” means viewing the action from the safety of our own screens. I’ll add a few more here in the hopes of drawing more viewers to the entertaining efforts of local and regional musicians, so stock up on hot apple cider and whiskey, plug in the Christmas lights, unwrap a present or two and tune in.

As he has been doing during the course of the pandemic, Robert Sarazin Blake’s to-do list this weekend is focused on making music for the masses. The Subdued Stringband Jamboree founder didn’t let COVID-19 keep him from hosting a smaller, more intimate version of the summertime staple in August, and the beloved folksinger and traveling musician has continued to make the most of staying put by offering “Live From the Kitchen Table” most Sundays. The virtual shows typically include special guests, clock in at around two hours, and bring a familiar voice to the forefront.

“A Very Subdued Christmas” takes place on Christmas Eve. The kitchen table will take on a decidedly festive tone, with Blake telling stories and singing songs that have something to do with the holiday season. Special guests will include the Gouran Girls, John Elliott, and Louis Ledford. And although you can watch for free if you’re low on funds, a generous gift to the virtual tip jar is most appreciated. When: 5pm-7pm Thurs., Dec. 24. Cost: Suggested donation is $10. Info: http://www.robertsarazinblake.com/concerts

After remotely joining Blake and company on Friday night, Ledford will return to the virtual world on Christmas Day for a “Holiday Special” on Facebook Live. For those who are glad that the singer and songwriter known for performing “literate Americana roots music” will be dipping his toes into the holiday hoedown pool, consider that the Southern-born artist moved to Bellingham in 2011 after a number of years spent performing at the Subdued Stringband Jamboree—meaning without Blake in Bellingham, there’d be no Ledford here either. I don’t know if that would be considered a Christmas miracle, but it’s close. When: 5pm Sat., Dec. 25. Cost: Free. Info: http://www.facebook.com/louisledfordmusic

Speaking of gifts that keep giving, Bellingham Symphony Orchestra will be offering free viewings of its annual Holiday Concert on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In addition to a turn by guest conductor Ryan Dudenbostel, the show recorded this month at the Mount Baker Theatre features visits by master storyteller Rosemary Vohs, noted soprano Ibidunni Ojikutu, and Lummi performers from Children of the Setting Sun Productions.

“This year, in addition to the classics, we focused on holiday music from a wide range of traditions—music that our guest artists, BSO members and I hold close to our own hearts from our own lives,” Dudenbostel says. BSO Executive Director Gail Ridenour adds that in the spirit of the holidays, they wanted to make sure all community members had access to the show, 

“In this challenging time,” she says, “we feel it’s even more important to make sure classical music is available to everyone.” When: 6pm Thurs., Dec. 24 and 7pm Fri., Dec. 25. Cost: Free; subscriptions are available for the season. Info: http://www.bellinghamsymphony.org

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