In what has become a firm holiday favorite, The Pipes of Christmas concert series will celebrate its seventeenth season with performances in New York and New Jersey this December.
The concert presents the music of Christmas accompanied by readings taken from the Celtic literature of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. Featured performers include James Robinson from the film “Braveheart,” New England fiddle champion Paul Woodiel, “Riverdance” uilleann piper and flutist Christopher Layer, Gaelic Mod champion harpist Jennifer Port of Golspie, Scotland, and the Pipe Major Kevin Ray Blandford Memorial Pipe Band from Redlands, CA.
The 2015 season opens on Saturday, December 19 at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church, located at 921 Madison Avenue (at 73rd Street) with performances at 2 and 7PM. The concert moves across the Hudson River on Sunday, December 20 to Central Presbyterian Church located at 70 Maple Street in Summit, NJ for 2PM and 7PM performances.
For those weary of the ceaseless stream of secular seasonal music from department stores to TV, the Pipes of Christmas offers a spiritual and traditional take on the season that connects concertgoers to the holiday in a fresh, meaningful way. The show features tunes such as O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Joy to the World, and Amazing Grace, all performed live on pipes and drums, harp and fiddle, and organ and brass. Not only does the performance define Christmas cheer, but also it inspires those of Celtic descent to retrace and reconnect to their ancestry.
New Musical Works to Have Their Premiere
As is customary with the Pipes of Christmas, the 2015 concerts will feature a world premiere of new a new composition. After successfully debuting in 2013, the concert will feature the premier of a new work featured by a music student of Edinburgh Napier University as part of the annual Alexander McCall Smith Composition Contest. Earlier this year, the concert established a new music scholarship with Edinburgh Napier University for students studying music composition.
Proceeds Support Scholarships and More
In addition to the new compositions scholarship, proceeds from the concert support an extensive music scholarship program which includes annual gifts to the National Piping Centre and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (both located in Glasgow,) the Gaelic College of Nova Scotia and Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas. Proceeds also support the US National Scottish Harp Championship, the Gaelic Literature Competition at the Royal National Mod and an annual academic research prize at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, Scotland’s Gaelic college on the Isle of Skye.
Commenting on the scholarship program, stage and screen star and former Honorary Chairman of the concerts, Alan Cumming said, “I am delighted that proceeds from the Pipes of Christmas will result in these important gifts which ensure that the future of Scottish culture is safer with these generous scholarships.”
Named one of New York City’s “Top Ten” holiday events, the concert is made possible by a generous gift from Edinburgh Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland and the Grand Summit Hotel in Summit, NJ.
Tickets Available Now
General admission tickets are on sale now. A downloadable ticket order form can be found on the concert’s website at www.pipesofchristmas.com. Tickets for the NYC concert may also be purchased online through SmartTix at www.smarttix.com or by phone at (212) 868-4444. Reserved patron seats are available at both venues.
About “The Pipes of Christmas”
Since making its debut in 1999, The Pipes of Christmas has played to standing room only audiences. Now a cherished holiday event, the concert provides audiences with a stirring and reverent celebration of the Christmas season and the Celtic spirit. Audience-goers return year after year to experience the program, many reporting that the Pipes of Christmas has become part of their family’s annual Christmas tradition.
The concert has been lavished with critical acclaim. In his review for Classical New Jersey Magazine, Paul Somers wrote, “The whole evening was constructed to introduce gem after gem and still have a finale which raised the roof. In short, it was like a well constructed fireworks show on the Glorious Fourth. The Westfield Leader described the concert as “a unique sound of power and glory nowhere else to be found.”
Photo: The Kevin Ray Blandford Memorial Pipe Band of Redlands, CA returns to the NY area for four performances of the Pipes of Christmas this December. Photo by Warren Westura.