Since 1984 Mannheim Steamroller has been kicking Christmas music up a notch with its high octane renditions of Christmas classics and original compositions by its musical mastermind Chip Davis. Saturday evening’s concert at the Music Center at Strathmore did not disappoint the audience and showed why Mannheim Steamroller after all this time is still the number one touring Christmas musical act in the country.
…this is one Christmas tradition you will want to share with your family for many years to come.
The program started with “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and then moved on to an original piece called “Gagliarda.” From there we had everything from a neat version of “White Christmas” to “Above the Northern Lights,” which was one of the best original pieces of the evening. A few other musical treats included “O Holy Night,” “Carol of the Bells,” and “Good King Wenceslas.” By far the highlight was a version of “Hallelujah” done Mannheim style. The blending of instruments really made for something special.
Instrumentation wise, Mannheim Steamroller mixes keyboards and percussion with guitar, multiple recorders, lute, violin, reed, horn, trumpet, and a sizeable string section. What you get from this is a worldwide musical Christmas experience. It’s interesting to me that no musician plays just one thing in the ensemble. The percussionist Joey Gulizia and violinist Jeff Yang double on recorder, drummer Tom Sharpe who is a show in himself to watch, has tons of percussion toys to play besides his drum kit, Glen Smith while playing multiple basses doubles on guitar and lute, and Chuck Pennington is holding it all together as the group’s conductor while playing multiple keyboards and, on occasion, vocalizing. The result musically is stunning.
Visually there were projections showing Christmases from all over the world as well as a feature showing clips from Mannheim Steamroller’s 28 year history.
While creator Chip Davis does not tour anymore, his presence is very much felt in his music. Mannheim Steamroller has a very distinct sound to it and this is due to the genius of Chip Davis and, of course, the musicians that carry on the Mannheim Steamroller tradition.
We always look for a constant in our lives as the world changes. Mannheim Steamroller is a constant of the holiday season, and is one we will look forward to in the future. Between the music selection and great musicianship this is one Christmas tradition you will want to share with your family for many years to come.
Running Time: Two Hours with one intermission.
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas was a one night only event at The Music Center at Strathmore on Dec 15th 2012.
For a complete list of future events at Strathmore click here.
To find out more about Mannheim Steamroller click here.