More on Santa Songs Debut
Having spent a lot of time at Christmas time ho, ho, ho-ing through the years and having a strong desire to do more singing, it occurred to me to put together a song cycle about the place that Santa holds in our holiday traditions.
My friends at Premier Arts in Elkhart, Indiana were enthusiastic and supportive and I was able to use their facilities as a base. They are a community performing arts organization with a strong educational component and I was able to collaborate with Vocal Director Liesl Bell in preparing the material and Liesl also accompanied me in performing what we had created together.
When the holidays approached I contacted a local venue very near my home. Paul Guzman and Bonnie Barrett of Stone Soup Emporium and Bonnie and Clyde’s Soda Shop in Bristol, Indiana agreed to host my show. They have been having music on the weekends and are beginning to draw crowds. I have been seeing friends from the Elkhart Civic Theater perform there and knew what a cozy and appropriately festive venue it could be.
I performed a dress rehearsal for an invited audience on Dec. 15, 2011 and had my friend Mel Moore (an accomplished musician) photograph the event. Mel is very experienced at candid photography for performing arts and did a great job for me. Please check out his work by clicking my Flickr Feed on this page. The show debuted Dec.16 for two nights.
For those who weren’t able to attend but are interested, the musical program was:
- Mummer’s Bells (lyric traditional, original music by Paul Johnson, 2011)
- Ballad of St. Nicholas (lyric Mike Sherer, music traditional)
- Night before Christmas Jig (Clement Moore, music Paul Johnson, 2011)
- Toyland (Herbert and MacDonough, 1903)
- Parade of the Wooden Soldiers (Jessel and McDonald, 1922)
- Pine Cones and Holly Berries/It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (Medley – Meredith Willson, 1963)
- That’s What I’d Like for Christmas (Bricusse and Ornadel, 1963)
- Dear Ol’ Santy Claus (lyrics – Dan Johnson and David Stephens, music trad.)
- Silver and Gold (Johnny Marks, 1992)
- Oh, Christmas Tree! (Traditional)
- Expect Things to Happen (Meredith Willson, 1963)
- Up on the Rooftop (Traditional)
- Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Gillespie and Coots, 1932)
- A Christmas Parade (Traditional, Lyrics by Dan Johnson)
- Yes, Virginia (Whatley and Schermerhorn, 2010)
- Here Comes Santa Claus (Autry and Haldeman, 1947)
I’m told by people that did attend that they had a very nice time.
More on the Debut Performance program:
Acknowledgements: thanks to all those who made the performance possible, especially Miriam Houck and John Shoup and the Elkhart Civic Theatre, our friends at Premier Arts in Elkhart, Chad Hoefle, graphics design, and Mel Moore photography and our hosts Bonnie Barrett and Paul Guzman.
Liesl Bell is Vocal Director for Premier Art’s productions and is a professional voice teacher with the Premier Arts Academy.
Daniel Johnson, a veteran of local theatre, has also appeared regionally in such roles as Ben Franklin in “1776”, Mooney in “Anything Goes” and Marcellus in “The Music Man”. He has particularly enjoyed creating original roles in “Troubadour” Bert Draesel and John Martin’s musical about St. Francis, Papa in the children’s musical “Gingerbread” and a singing villain in Mike Snider’s Cinnamon Bear Show: “Peppermint Bear and the Elves that Forgot Christmas.” He has played featured musical roles in revivals of works from Gilbert and Sullivan to Cole Porter.
I’ll be telling you more about friend and composer Paul Johnson’s wonderful work in future posts.