Sounds Like Christmas
Get your jingle on
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
According to Facebook Memories, it was during this time frame in years past that a number of friends gathered at my house for a pre-Christmas-caroling round of spiked egg nog before we donned Santa hats, bundled up and headed into the frigid winter night to share songs of the season throughout Bellingham’s York neighborhood and at a number of downtown bars—a couple of which rewarded our humble efforts with hot toddies.
That won’t be happening this December, as singing in public is a surefire way to cause the coronavirus to spread more quickly. Although health experts say it’s not advisable to go “a-caroling” these days, that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy holiday hits. In fact, a number of virtual happenings scheduled for this weekend are likely to have attendees singing along—from the safety of their own houses, of course.
First up is “A Winter Wonderful” concert featuring We Banjo 3 on Fri., Dec. 18 that will help raise funds for Mount Vernon’s McIntyre Hall. The Irish quartet known for a hybrid of traditional, old-time and bluegrass music they’ve dubbed “Celtgrass” has played at the performing arts venue in past seasons, but won’t have to hoof it to Skagit County to share their formidable talents this time around.
In addition to the festive offering by the celebrated ensemble comprised of two sets of brothers, the livestreamed event will also feature remote sets by the likes of Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, Skerryvore, the Whileaways, BackWest, and Ajeet, with limited-edition merch and ticket bundles available. And although viewers will only have one chance to catch the action in real time, they’ll be able to re-watch the livestream through Sat., Dec. 26. A portion of ticket sales will benefit McIntyre Hall, so go big—and go home. When: 5pm Fri., Dec. 18. Cost: Tickets start at $20. Info: http://www.mountvernonchamber.com
Although Mount Baker Theatre recently had to cancel its in-person Movie Palace Holiday Films lineup—which would’ve included It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th St., Elf, Diehard, and a Dec. 25 viewing of White Christmas—they’re still onboard to present a Saturday night showing of Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy’s “A Celtic Family Christmas at Home.” The duo last performed at the MBT in February 2019 to a packed house, but this time they’ll actually be inviting ticket-holders into their house. In addition to the high-octane Celtic fiddling the Canadian power couple is known for, the virtual event will also feature the duo candidly engaging in holiday traditions with their seven offspring—who will join their parental units for some of the musical portions of the evening, as well.
The duo (pictured) also collaborated with the Mount Baker Theatre to spread the love at 15 assisted-living facilities in Bellingham, Lynden, Burlington, and Mount Vernon. Each were provided with a complimentary pair of tickets to the event, hoping to make spirits just a little brighter.
“The residents in assisted living are incredibly isolated because of COVID-19, so many are unable to see their loved ones in person right now,” MBT Program Director Renee Gaumond says. “We are thrilled to facilitate this generous gift from Natalie, Donnell, and HomePlay, which will allow more than 100 people to enjoy a heartwarming holiday show from the safety and comfort of their own communities.” When: 7pm Sat., Dec. 19. Cost: Tickets are $20. Info: http://www.mountbakertheatre.com
And in what has to be one of the busiest weekend nights in recent memory—especially for those looking to get their jingle on—Saturday will also bring a “Holiday Special with Fireside Friends” hosted by the Fireside Martini and Wine Bar and featuring local and regional musicians such as JD Merris, Michael Bride, Cheryl Hodge, Kaeli Earle, Conner Helms, and more. Advance ticket purchase to the virtual show is required, but those who also order dinner, snacks, holiday gift boxes or cocktail kits from the Bellingham-based venue will get the musical portion of the evening for free. When: 7pm Sat., Dec. 19. Cost: Tickets are $15. Info: http://www.my-site-firesidemartini.square.site
And lest you think the band CD Baby once described as “a sizzling, red-glowing, cranked-up grill whereupon slabs of the Stones, the Kinks, the Stooges, and the Beatles bake at hair-melting temperatures” is going to let the holiday season pass without throwing a homegrown hoedown, rest assured that “A Very Clambake Christmas” will proceed as usual—well, as usual as the longtime Bellingham band can get during a global pandemic. This is another Saturday night soiree, so plan your life accordingly, and join Clambake and True Tone Audio for an online concert that promises to have you grabbing a partner and hitting the dance floor (i.e., your living room). When: 7pm Sat., Dec.19. Cost: Entry is free. Info: http://www.facebook.com/Clambake
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Christmas concerts, take two
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…