Charlie Barnett with maestra Victoria Gau
Our hometown Christmas show is always a highlight of our year. It has become a tradition, but we still like to switch things up a bit. So this year, our “opening act” was the North Chevy Chase Elementary School Holiday Glee Club. A more enthusiastic group of fourth graders you will not find! Maybe you recognize their pink-suited conductor. Charlie served as “composer in residence” at the school for a week earlier this year, so when we needed some kid singers to add to the mix, he knew just where to go.
We were thrilled to have a packed house at Bethesda Blues & Jazz. There is no better way to start the holidays than that. Along with songs from our Christmas album, we played some old favorites and premiered a brand new song called “Gin Fizz Fandango.” It is a strange and groovy tune in a slow three-four that features a bravura solo by Joe Jackson on trombone and a star turn by Marilyn Older on piano. We are looking forward to playing this song a lot in 2015!
It’s always a little nerve-wracking to book a gig in Central Wisconsin during snow season. Will our plane be able to land? Will our rental van be able to mush the two-and-a-half hour distance to the show? But it’s always worth the risk to play with the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Patrick Miles has an unusual combination of an extraordinary music talent and a salt-of-the-earth personality, and he made what could have been a difficult first day (including not only the flight and the drive, but a full dress rehearsal before the concert) into a wonderful musical celebration.
Our run in Stevens Point was capped off by a celebratory dinner at the concert hall and a standing ovation as we walked in to our seats. That is not something that happens every day, and it was not lost on us what a special time and place Stevens Point is. These shows marked the debut of our Christmas pops repertoire. When we get the board checks from this concert, we’ll post a song or two.
In the meantime, check out the blue Very Chaise Lounge Guitar that was made for Charlie by John Currier of Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
There is a club in the tiny, tiny town of Aberdeen, North Carolina, called The Rooster’s Wife. Playing there recently was one of the most satisfying concert experiences of our collective lives. The funky venue is beautiful, the audience is a sophisticated, musically educated crowd, and the performers are treated like royalty. Janet Kenworthy has created a nearly magical experience that that appears, like Brigadoon, each Sunday night at 6:46 PM. If you are within 250 miles…GO.