Christmas wasn’t always one of my favorite holidays, mainly because I didn’t celebrate it. But, I’ve come around, because every musician in the Triangle is using it as an excuse to perform a special Christmas show. And best yet, since “Christmas” has come to mean the time period between Thanksgiving and Dec. 25, that means a full month of great music.
Last week, I saw all the UNC a cappella groups sing at the GAA Holiday Concert on Monday. Then the Duke Chorale performed a Christmas Concert at Duke Chapel on Tuesday. And Duke’s premier a cappella group, the Pitchforks, performed its Gothic Christmas Concert at the Gothic Reading Room on Friday (Extra points for the Duke groups for their honest and un-PC titles, by the way. And yes, I have also become a fan of The Sing-Off, in case you couldn’t have guessed).
So far these have all been college groups who needed to perform before exams started, so it made sense to have their Christmas shows three weeks before the actual holiday. But this week the music continues — my favorite local band, Chatham County Line (image below), had its Ho Ho Holiday Party in Raleigh, and Thursday my favorite local record label and the best live music venue in the Triangle got together for Trekky Records’ Christmas at the Cradle.
Each show had its special qualities. The UNC show featured about eight groups, so you got a sense of all the different styles. The Duke Chapel gives you the opportunity to sing along (sample instruction: the chorus will sing the verse in Latin, and then everyone sings the second verse in English), and it’s done in an actual church, which at least connects the holiday show to its actual purpose. The Pitchforks perform in the best room on campus (it’s where Katie Holmes had her classes on Dawson’s Creek when she attended “Worthington University“). Plus, if you’re hungry they throw snacks at you at various interludes.
Chatham County Line had two sets — one acoustic, one electric; or as they put it, one soft and one loud — and played for about 2 1/2 hours. And the show at Cat’s Cradle gave me a taste of the local music scene and let me sample a ton of different bands for $10 while feeling good that the proceeds went to charity (which is, um, the reason I went. Besides the opportunity to celebrate Christmas, of course).