A perfect way to spend a summer night might be sitting on the Patio at Strathmore Music Center listening to a talented local artist as part of their Summer Concert Series. Despite a short delay due to lightning in the area and an early ending due to the same, it proved to be a most memorable event. That night’s performer was Christian Douglas, a member of Strathmore’s Artists-in-Residence Program. All the performers on stage that night were former or present artists in the class.
Douglas is an accomplished artist as a singer, pianist. and composer. He studied classical singing at the University of Maryland and. upon graduating. he was a tenor for the United States Army Chorus where he performed for many national leaders and foreign dignitaries. Douglas has also appeared on stage in the DC Metro area, most recently for Signature Theatre’s virtual “Midnight at the Never Get.” Douglas’ original music is soft pop to light rock with some wonderful ballads. It has the feel of some modern musicals like “Dear Evan Hanson,” mixed with a little of the late Harry Chapin — who told stories with music — and dash of Dylan.
Christian Douglas is a very talented composer and performer, and one we should all be watching in the future.
Douglas opened with “Stay Inside” from his new album “Inside Voice.” The song was written during the pandemic and quarantine. With a few guitars and percussion behind him, the song had a heavier rock beat than on his album. It was a perfect opening.
He followed with a commissioned work he wrote for the Artists-in-Residence Program. Actually several songs he wrote were based on the New York Times “Modern Love” sub-column, “Tiny Love Stories.” They ranged from bitter break-ups to a more tender love as pictured through the seasons. A crowd favorite was “She Waters Me Every Day.” The story behind this is that the man’s girlfriend cares so much for him she makes sure he stays hydrated. The song was both warm and witty.
This was followed by more songs from the album. Douglas was joined by two back-up singers as well as the rock band. He chose “Through the Screen,” about falling in love during the pandemic, “Love Thy Neighbor” that dealt with the strife from the past year, and “On the Tip of My Tongue,” reflecting the composer’s wait for inspiration. He also included “A Little Love” based on a poem by Carl Sandburg, “At a Window,” followed by “Simple Life” written when Douglas was preparing to try his talents in New York in which in muses about settling down. Two string players were added for several of the pieces.
He ended as the storm again seemed to threaten in the night sky with “Hold On” which started as an a cappella piece but ended with a country, feel-good sound.
It was a refreshing concert in the extreme heat of that day. You could let your mind get absorbed in the music and relax. Christian Douglas is a very talented composer and performer, and one we should all be watching in the future.
Running Time: All concerts usually run between 60-70 minutes.
This concert was held on June 30, 2021. Strathmore Music Center will be holding concerts on the patio all summer. If you wish to purchase tickets, go to this link.
You can hear Christian Douglas’ “Inside Voice” on Amazon Music, iTunes, Spotify, and other streaming platforms or you can order his CD at this link.
For more on Christian Douglas read Susan Brall’s interview with Christian Douglas in Maryland Theatre Guide.