“One hour. Great music. Incredible originality. You will laugh. You will cry.”
This is how conductor and musician Janet Clazzy describes “Spirited,” a two-person variety show featuring Clazzy and bestselling author of “Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories ‘Til Christmas,” Jonathan Cringle.
The duo began traveling full-time around the country in 2010 with a show combining stories from Clazzy’s blog, Jonathots and Clazzy’s original music.
The two will bring “Spirited” to Colonial Heights United Methodist Church Dec. 8 at 6:30 p.m.
“We realized that the first week of December was ideal for putting together a one-hour version of our material and offering it to folks in a kind of early-getting-ready-for-Christmas-before-people-become-crazy,” Clazzy said. “As Jonathan says, ‘We need a good Christmas this year.’”
When Cringle wrote “Mr. Kringle’s Tales,” he said he intended it to be for all ages; he said he wants “Spirited” to have the same effect.
“One of the worst things we do in our country is approach everything by demographics, as if someone who is 18 years of age can't enjoy something that would intrigue a 50 year old. It's ridiculous,” Cringle said. “I think funny is funny, heartfelt is heartfelt and truth is truth. As long as you don't act like the best things that happened were 20 years ago, you can keep your message current, and therefore ageless.”
“Spirited” will combine storytelling and Christmas carols just in time for the holiday season. Clazzy said the show brings in a diverse array of music and stories they hope will entertain every audience.
“Some of the stories are Santa-toy-shop-hilarious, some are sacred, some are actually sci-fi,” Clazzy said. “I play the oboe and the WX5 wind machine, which has 250 different available sounds. Also, there's our version of 'Silent Night,' called 'Stille Nocturne,' a tribute to the original version, which was both German and heard on the guitar.
“I play it on the Spanish guitar sound on the wind machine, and it is gorgeous.”
Both Clazzy and Cringle said sometimes the true meaning of Christmas gets lost amid the busyness of the season, and they hope to provide attendees with a reminder of what they feel is the purpose of the holiday.
“(We want) to give people the opportunity to establish the true message of Christmas – the knowledge that the birth of a baby to a peasant woman changed the world,” Clazzy said. “How much could we change our own world just by incorporating a little more giving and a little less selfishness?”
Cringle also emphasized the power of the holiday in how it can bring people together.
“(‘Spirited’) is a combination of music, singing, humor, essays and just great stories about how the Christmas season has transforming power in all of our lives, from the time we are little tots until our journey is through,” Cringle said. “It's a chance to connect the dots between each other by sharing the memories we have in common.
“Christmas is our universal picture album, which each one of us shares with all mankind," Cringle added. "We just pull it out of the cobwebs and let people enjoy the reflections.”