‘A Space Age Christmas’
It seems that Melissa Reaves is the gift that keeps on giving.
Friday night will mark her 10th annual Holiday Show, an eclectic showcase of song, dance, comedy and surprises that may defy easy description; how about a mysterious guest from outer space known as Silvera, Christmas Queen of the Universe?
Reaves, the hard-rocking Boone-based singer, songwriter and guitarist will host the 8 p.m. Holiday Show Dec. 9, at Char in downtown Boone. She’ll perform selections off her 2008 Christmas CD, “Holidaze,” along with her band, The Holiday Party Troopers. The theme for this year’s show is “A Space Age Christmas.”
Reaves, who is nursing a broken finger on her left hand, will add her rich vocals to the ensemble, but will leave her guitar home. A disappointment, perhaps, for many who’ve come to crave her visionary guitar play, though she promises fellow Holiday Party Troopers – Bafoodus members Andy Page (guitar) and Mike Runyon (keyboard), as well as Reaves’ regular drummer Jonathan Priest and bassist Brandon Miller – will more than pick up the slack Friday night.
While Reaves will not release her newest CD until early next year, the Holiday Show will serve as a CD release party of sorts for some of the guest performers. Among them is MC Sterling, who will appear Friday night as “the Rappin’ Santa,” whose freestyle, improvisational rhymes, Reaves promised, will add to the holiday surprises on tap for the night.
Meanwhile, the mysterious Silvera will perform her latest single, “Your Fake Song,” an upbeat dance rendition of Elton John’s “Your Song.” Dub step group Entropy Crew, four dancers Reaves discovered while strolling across the Appalachian State University campus, will bring their kinetically charged free styling dance routines to the show, as well.
The Mennonite Brethren Choir, accompanied by The Brethren Band, will round out the evening fare with some rollicking gospel music and offer a chance to help Boone’s hundred-year-old Mennonite Brethren Church raise funds for some much needed repairs.
Led by director and bassist Danny Whittington, the black gospel choir and band are preparing to release a new CD themselves, though Reaves said the disk will not be quite ready for Friday night.
“It’s a great honor to work with them,” Reaves said. “I did a benefit with them in the summer, had a great time and wanted to do another show with them. There are parts of the church that are in great disrepair. We’re doing what we can to help raise the funds.”
It’s a common theme with Reaves’ annual holiday affair, raising support for worthy causes and offering local talent a chance to show off their chops and market their wares.
“We try to bring focus to musicians who may be unknown in the community and to introduce the audience to performers I’ve come upon who are fascinating to me,” Reaves said. “We try to keep the focus local.”
Reaves said it feels like a real milestone, bringing her Holiday Show to the end of its first decade. What began as a mild-mannered, somewhat formal affair in 2001, with jazz piano and drums, has developed into a full-fledged variety show that, through its history, has offered up everything from torch jugglers to bagpipes.
There will be more surprises Friday night, she said, but you’ll have to show up to find out what they might be. There is currently a waiting list for tables, but Reaves said the staff at Char has taken steps to assure there’s a seat for everyone.
“It’s going to be a packed show,” she said. “It will be interesting to see how the dancers navigate their way through the crowd!”
A scant week after the Holiday Show, Reaves, pianist Dave Fox and guitarist Scott Sawyer will embark with their band, Meldavian, on a mini tour, performing along several stops between home and Bisbee, Ariz.
In Bisbee, Reaves said she’ll spend some time in the Arizona sun, “doing nothing but writing and playing music ’til April.”
In February, the band will return to North Carolina for a five-day CD release tour, beginning with a stop in Raleigh, followed by two shows in Greensboro, another in Winston-Salem and finishing with a CD release party in Boone on Feb. 25 at the Harvest House.
Reaves said she also has a music video in post-production she expects will be released about the same time as the Maldavian CD, though the video and CD are unrelated.
The 10th annual Holiday Show is Friday, Dec. 9, at Char restaurant at 179 Howard St. in Boone. Admission is $9 at the door, and the show begins at 8 p.m. sharp.
For more information on Melissa Reaves, visit http://www.melissareaves.com.