Celebrate ‘A Classic Christmas’ Saturday

“A Classic Christmas” rekindles the holiday spirit at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 20, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, in a concert sponsored by Elation Center for the Arts.

“A Classic Christmas” is a colorful presentation of Christmas songs and classic melodies. A holiday show with fun and surprises, “A Classic Christmas” combines the talents of Matthew and Tiffany Brunson, John Graves, Larry Elginer, Mark DeVoti, Dan and Venita Burch, Rick and D’Ann Artis, June Marquez, Bob Nordmann, Sue Diffee, Jessica Trujillo, Perry Schjolin, Ayriana Rackham, Iris Grad, Harvey Schwartz, Julie Loar, Nancy Smith, Paula McFaddin, Pat French, and Carl and Gloria Macht; plus Four the Good Times, the Pagosa Springs Jazz Vocal Ensemble and the Pagosa Springs Brass Quartet.

“I consider myself the last bastion of an era of music,” said John Graves. Graves will be driving a large wagonload of entertainers to “A Classic Christmas” in his new reindeer deluxe flying coach.

His hands dance joyfully across the keys, with notes cascading ecstatically beyond the clouds.

Graves is one of the last emissaries from a richly creative era of American pop music. His favorite world of music resides in the old-fashioned songs and jazz tunes from the first half of the 20th century. If you can hum a few bars, Graves can play it.

An artist known for his great gift of nurturing a sense of community through his many creative contributions to the local arts scene, Graves is a cultural icon in Pagosa.

As a young boy, Graves began his musical career performing on a Steinway grand piano for the Mickey Mouse Club shows at a movie theater that had once been a magnificent turn-of-the-century vaudeville theater.

Graves had a 35-year career as a TV and film executive and producer. At the same time, he pursued his career as a professional musician, often accompanying folks like George Burns, Jimmy Durante, Redd Fox, Rudy Vallee, Rosemary Clooney and June Christy; and performing for private parties hosted by Judy Garland, Groucho Marx, Danny Thomas, John Wayne and Jack LaLanne.

Graves moved to Pagosa in 1996 after retiring as professor emeritus of mass communication. His book, “Just Say Yes: Memoirs of a Geezer,” contains amusing anecdotes of his experiences with celebrities, and other episodes from his life’s adventures, which he weaves together in an eloquent style and his characteristic wisdom, wit, humor and upbeat philosophy. Excerpts from the book are available on his Web site, thegravesite.com.

Graves’ CD, “Where in the World is Home?” features his solo piano renditions of jazz, stride, boogie-woogie, blues, contrapuntal improvisations and original music.

Join us for “A Classic Christmas” when a large wagonload of entertainers flies in on a reindeer craft driven by a smiling guy with a white beard sitting next to a teddy bear.

Advance tickets are $10, available online at elationarts.org and at Higher Grounds Coffee Company. Tickets at the door are $13. Young people, 18 and under, will be admitted free of charge.

Help us continue the tradition of our wonderful concert intermission social by bringing a dessert to share if you wish. Volunteers for cleanup after the concert are greatly appreciated.

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. in the Vista subdivision of Pagosa Lakes. Take U.S. 160 to Vista Boulevard; turn north on Vista, then left on Port. The clubhouse is at the end of Port in the PLPOA complex.

Elation Center for the Arts is a nonprofit organization that provides cultural arts programs to the community of Pagosa Springs.

For more information, call 731-3117.

Photo courtesy ECA
Perry Schjolin sang with the LA Chamber Singers, LA Master Chorale and the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra. Moving to Pagosa in 2007, Schjolin now sings with the Pagosa Springs Community Choir and Jazz Ensemble. He appears in ECA’s “A Classic Christmas” Saturday, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse

Photo courtesy ECA
Matthew and Tiffany Brunson are favorites on the Pagosa Springs concert and theater scene. The Brunsons are part of talented cast set to perform in Elation Center for the Arts’ “A Classic Christmas,” Saturday at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.