When singer/songwriter Christine Lavin couldn’t find a good Christmas/Kwanzaa/Solstice/Chanukah/Ramadan/Boxing Day album, she decided to make one up, and teamed with seven New York vocalists, assembled a sackful of humorous, offbeat and occasionally moving and lovely seasonal songs, added original stories and created a lighthearted a cappella alternative that she called “The Runaway Christmas Tree.” Released in 2003, it garnered high marks in The New York Times, New York Daily News and The Washington Post among others.
These songs and stories are the basis of her concert on Friday, Dec. 15 at the Smith Opera House, Christine Lavin and the Mistletones. Because the seven singers on the CD cannot join her on tour, Lavin will share the stage with Geneva High School’s Varsity Singers under the direction of Linda Allen.
The local youths will perform “Polkadot Pancakes,” a song of Christmas miracles gone wrong; “Elves,” sounding very much like munchkins on helium; “Scalloped Potatoes” and “Snow Onward,” a light holiday dusting of snow gone berserk.
For quasi-traditionalists, Lavin has included an express-lane version of a perennial favorite, “Th 12 Dys f Chrstms,” in which she sings only half the numbers in the count up (“I do want to spare parents… that song can get monotonous’) but all the numbers in the count down (“or that would be too weird”). And there are lovely melodic and solemn hymns to peace and what the end of the year represents – the beautiful “Dona Nobis Pacem,” “The New Year’s Round,” “Lamb and Lion,” “Allelujah/Amen” and “Good Night To You All.”
Lavin's latest album, “One Meatball,” is a compilation of 19 food-related songs and 19 song-related recipes. Packaged in a 96-page mini cookbooklet, “One Meatball” represents her idea to combine her love of “beautifully crafted songs and the songwriters who create them with good food.”
A former local resident who still has family living in the area, Lavin last appeared at The Smith in 2002.
Doors will open at 7:30 for the 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students and senior citizens, and are available at the Smith Opera House box office, by calling (315) 781-LIVE or toll-free (866) 355-LIVE (5483), at Area Records and Music in Geneva, or online at www.TheSmith.org.