HFTH #13

December 21, 2016

It’s that Home for the Holidays time of year again! We’ve missed one or two since the tradition to gather local musicians for a holiday-themed, if unconventional, concert began thirteen years ago. We’ve enjoyed each and every one.

The show always begins with Joe Craven shaking sleigh bells in the rear of the theater, at the top of the stairs to quiet the audience. Then he sings the line, “Happy Holidays,” as he slowly descends on his way to the stage, followed by “Home for the Holidays.” Regulars (most of the crowd) know to respond in kind when he pauses after each line.

Then it’s about eight different musical acts, each typically performing three songs, mostly holiday-themed. Most of the performers are returnees year after year, and many repeat certain favorite songs.

Knock-your-socks-off talent, heavy doses of local humor, smily-worthy warmth, many familiar faces in the crowd, set changes on the fly, and lotsa improvisation and inside jokes make for just a great night.

Some of my favorites:

The insanely talented and funny Joe:


Rita Hoskings:


Little Charlie (Baty):


Tracy Walton, Chris Webster and Bill Edwards:


And a new act this year, this 14-year-old harpist who got the first-ever HFTH standing ovation! Her name is Alaina Rose, who’s played with the Sacramento Youth Symphony, the San Francisco Civic Orchestra and the University of the Pacific Youth Orchestra. Ridiculously poised and talented:


You can tell we’re in the first row.

The talent and passion blow me away every year. I walk out hurting from all the smiling.




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