“Music I grew up with”, “This was truly a fun evening”
THE “EMBRACE THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON” CONCERT – VIBRANT!
Holiday spirit was plentiful as friends and families gathered for this colorful LSO concert with guest artists Jason Coleman, grandson of Floyd Cramer, Meagan Taylor, great-niece of Chet Atkins, and the Young Singers of West Georgia. Everyone in the audience seemed to know each other as multiple groups used this opportunity to have a holiday outing together with the people they enjoy. Many were dressed in red, green, silver, and gold holiday colors, and I saw at least one Santa hat in the audience. The LSO were dressed in their formal tuxedos but, from where I was sitting, I could see some fun red and green socks that made me smile.
With Jason in his brilliant red jacket and Meagan in her red shoes, the concert began with bright and lively instrumental medleys, beautifully enriched with the LSO. They did many holiday favorites interspersed with several more recent seasonal ballads, and even East Tennessee Christmas, which was written by Chet Atkins. This concert was centered on the idea of family and friends. Both Meagan and Jason brought their families with them from Tennessee, including Jason’s grandmother, wife of the late Floyd Cramer. It was a real treat to have her in the audience and to meet her afterward.
Here is a photo of Jason with his grandmother.
Joining the Nashville legacy entertainers onstage were their friends Don Dunham on bass and Kyle Covington on drums. All four guests sang harmony together. Meagan nailed several tender songs that were perfect for this season of reflection. Her very young daughter impressively sang Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors.
After a short intermission, The Young Singers of West Georgia, donning festive scarves and ties, efficiently floated onto the stage as one unit and transported us on the Polar Express. Singing the signature song with a terrific high-energy train conductor was a great way to begin. From the same movie, the YSWG also did Believe, which was really beautiful. Like a train is a single entity made up of many parts, this choir also performed as a unit. YSWG is directed by Stacey Hardigree, with this performance of the Polar Express under the direction of Dane Bateman. They then led everyone in a singalong of several holiday carols.
Again Meagan and Jason performed numerous instrumentals and ballads, including Windy and Warm made famous by Chet Atkins, whom Meagan affectionately called, Uncle Chester.
At one point, we saw video of Jason playing with his famous grandfather, and then the whole stage joined in playing as the performance played on the video. This was not the first time that the LSO has performed in Callaway Auditorium with Floyd Cramer! How wonderful of Jason, to also share this special Christmas performance, of he and his grandfather, with the LSO.
Jason has mastered his grandfather’s slip-note style of playing. Beyond that, he played some pieces that were his own arrangements for full orchestra and piano, that were terrific. Even he commented on the rich sound that the LSO achieved with his pieces.
What a great night. Fittingly, they played, Last Date written by Floyd Cramer to sign off. This was a multi-colored performance from the program cover to the many photos taken in the lobby. This concert reminded everyone to honor the past and enjoy the present. Merry Christmas everyone, and keep that holiday spirit in your hearts throughout 2018. Happy New Year! The LSO will be back in March.