Concert: Dan Zanes Strums up Holiday Cheer
Do you know the moment you caught the holiday spirit? Some times it's a hazy wintery day filled with the fragrant smell of a warm fireplace or a brightly lite Menorah or Christmas lights in a window. Or maybe it's the tree lighting at Rockefeller Center. For me, it's usually music and this year I caught the spirit when I stumbled upon a rehearsal of the holiday show at my daughter's school. A chorus of cheery children’s voices singing "Let it Snow" filled the room and chills ran up my spine. It took me back to my childhood in Connecticut when carolers visited our home every Christmas Eve.
Carolers are a rare site in New York City. But if “Deck the Halls” gets you in the holiday mood, you won’t want to miss Dan Zanes' annual Holiday Sing-a-long. We sat down with Dan who gave us the scoop on this interactive, inclusive and festive performance at City Winery this weekend.
This is your 6th year. What makes this holiday tradition so special for you?
Part of the answer is in the question - it’s become a tradition! Every year we see old friends and make new friends. Every year there are new special guests. Every year the audience sings with a little more
gusto. And every year I have an opportunity to play with my favorite band in the world! This type of show only happens in December so it’s a special, memorable, and fleeting musical moment in the year.
What can we expect at this festive performance? A little old and a little new?
it’s a mix of holiday songs from various parts of the world. in other words it’s a real american mash-up holiday celebration - this is who we are as a country! So the music reflects a variety of languages, beliefs, and traditions. And of course that makes it more social and more fun.
What do parents of special needs children need to know about your holiday show?
I was exposed to the idea of sensory friendly shows through the work of Barry Kornhauser at the ware center in Lancaster, PA and Betty Siegel at the Kennedy Center. Our approach to sensory friendly programming is closely tied to the Kennedy Center guidelines and it’s not unlike what we’ve always done as far as a controlled visual and auditory atmosphere. The main difference is that we create a chill out room, a visual schedule, and language that makes it clear that all behaviors and responses to the performance are welcome. It’s a very inclusive atmosphere and we all benefit from it! I believe that in 5 years all family programming will be sensory friendly. I know that starting now mine will be.