It's officially the holidays when Rob Mathes takes the stage for his annual ROB MATHES CHRISTMAS CONCERT! Greenwich resident and Emmy Award-winning musician Mathes will perform his 19th annual Christmas Concert on Friday, Dec. 21, and Saturday, Dec. 22, 8pm, at the Performing Arts Center at Purchase College. Tickets are available online at www.artscenter.org or by calling 914-251-6200. Note: Saturday's Night's concert is sold out and only a few tickets remain for Friday, Dec. 21.
The concert, which Mathes describes as, “A rockin’ holiday jam session with some of the best musicians in the New York area,” will include his amazing all-star band with favorites Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live) on drums, Joe Bonadio on percussion, Will Lee (David Letterman Show) on bass, Bill Masters on guitar, Rick Knutsen on keyboards, and fabulous vocalists Vaneese Thomas (daughter of the legendary blues artist Rufus Thomas and back by popular demand), James "D-Train" Williams, and Ian Cron, plus Rob’s 30+ member choir of "Saints and Friends." This is a not-to-be-missed holiday tradition. This year's concert will feature some new music, holiday originals and remarkably reworked classics from this magical season.
“We are really excited to have Vaneese Thomas and Shawn Pelton back for this year’s Christmas Concert,” noted Mathes. “Vaneese is always an audience favorite and was unavailable these past couple years as she was singing with the Colorado Symphony; this year, she has been on tour with Aretha Franklin and is taking a break to sing with us! I’m writing a new song just for her,” said Mathes. “Shawn Pelton will be back too and we’ll have an Allman Brothers thing happening on stage with two drum sets for Shawn Pelton and Joe Bonadio – it will be super cool.”
Rob Mathes had a great year in 2012 winning an Emmy for musically directing the Kennedy Center Honors; working non-stop with Sting on new albums and the moving theatrical play "The Last Ship;" musically co-producing and arranging an evening with The Detroit Symphony and Kid Rock; musically directed the Songwriter's Hall of Fame and the orchestra for Bruce Springsteen's performance on the Grammy's; and even recorded a new album of his own to be released in December called "Flesh and Spirit." He will be working on a new Bruce Springsteen project, musically directing the Musicares evening held in Springsteen’s honor in February 2013.
“I have recorded a brand new record of 12 songs that will be done right around the time of the Christmas Concert,” said Mathes. “Flesh and Spirit was recorded with a group of guys called The Ditch and was done live in the studio at Avatar in New York City and the Carriage House Studios in Stamford, CT. It is easily the most intense rock oriented thing I have ever done; completely guitar driven with the exception of a few songs.”
Mathes has planned on finishing his Evening Train sequel Wheelbarrow this year, but was sidetracked by writing a few new songs last January that were so thrilling and sounded so good, that he wrote eight more songs and recorded them in July. “I realized that the immediacy and instant gratification of doing it live was leading to very direct music making and I couldn’t resist it,” said Mathes.
As always, the Rob Mathes Christmas Concert is a benefit concert for a non-profit close to Mathes’ heart. Mathes is a big supporter for children and education, especially in Rwanda, where Mathes visited in 2003. This year’s concert will support the International Education Exchange (IEE) that works in Rwanda to support public education by training teachers, creating school partnerships, and improving infrastructure. In addition, the concert will also benefit Cross Cultural Thresholds (CCT), a partner organization of IEE that works with experienced grassroots leaders working on behalf of children, building schools, educational support, enrichment programs including nutrition, counseling and access to medicine, music and dance, and offers service trips to assist its projects on the ground and foster a network of informed citizens deeply invested in one another. CCT's programs are in Rwanda and Kenya. And new this year, a text-to-donate option is available to donate directly to IEE and CCT even before the conert starts by texting KENYA to 95323.
Tickets for the Rob Mathes Christmas Concert are $35, $45, $60 & $75 and are available at the Performing Arts Center Box Office www.artscenter.org or by calling 914-251-6200. To learn more about the non-profit concert beneficiaries the International Education Exchange (IEE) and Cross Cultural Thresholds (CCT), visit www.educationexchange.org and www.crossculturalthresholds.org. To learn more about Rob Mathes and his annual Christmas Concert, visit www.robmathes.com.