Heather Mitchell, center, and Allison Holtkamp are accompanied by Tom Locher on piano as they perform their Juneau Cabaret songs to seniors at Wildflower Court on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018.

Heather Mitchell, center, and Allison Holtkamp are accompanied by Tom Locher on piano as they perform their Juneau Cabaret songs to seniors at Wildflower Court on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018.

Cabaret singers take on holiday classics

Juneau Cabaret brings ‘Christmas Cheer’

If there was a 19th day of Christmas in the classic “12 Days of Christmas” carol, it might look like what Juneau Cabaret has planned for its third annual Holiday Extravaganza.

There are 19 performers scheduled to sing holiday tunes in the cabaret style 5-7 p.m Wednesday, Dec. 19, in Centennial Hall for the pay-as-you-can event that’s been dubbed a rush-hour concert.

“This is a fun one,” said Heather Mitchell, organizer and performer for Juneau Cabaret. “People like to come to this one.”

This is the first year the performance will take place in Centennial Hall.

“We have no idea how many people will show up,” said Tom Locher, music director for Juneau Cabaret, who will be accompanying performers on piano.

But the show tends to be well-attended, Mitchell said.

While most of Juneau Cabaret’s recent performances have been installations in the ongoing “Great American Songbook” series, which highlights compositions from notable 20th century songwriters, the Holiday Extravaganza is more like the group’s open call shows. In those shows, a number of performers will perform one or two songs.

For the holiday concert, it will be one song per person, which tends to draw in performers who may be giving cabaret a first try.

“We’re excited to bring open calls back up and running,” Mitchell said.”It isn’t a lot easier than our regular open call shows, but it is pretty easy. It’s kind of a gateway to cabaret. They’re songs you know pretty well even if you think you don’t.”

The lineup for this year’s extravaganza is a blend of familiar Juneau Cabaret faces and talented first-timers, Locher said.

“We have a combination of really good veteran singers and some developing singers,” Locher said.

The tentative lineup includes performances from folks such as Marian Call, Allison Holtkamp, Margeaux Ljungberg, Joselyn Ribao and John Haywood among many others.

The prospective set list includes staples such as “Blue Christmas,” “White Christmas,” “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “Santa Baby” and others.

Locher and Mitchell said the timing of the annual concert tends to coincide with travel and cold seasons, so there may be some shuffling between now and Wednesday evening.

Mitchell said the familiar holiday songs tend to translate well to the simple cabaret style, because many modern classics were penned by folks with that medium in mind.

For example, Irving Berlin, who wrote “Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business” also wrote seasonal staples “White Christmas” and “Happy Holiday.”

“We have a lot of Christmas songs from the 20th century that were written in the ‘Great American Songbook’ style,’” Mitchell said.

Know & Go

What: Juneau Cabaret Holiday Extravaganza

When: 5 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 19

Where: Centennial Hall, 101 Egan Drive

Admission: Pay as you can

• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.

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