Gift #923: Mannheim Steamroller

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Two weeks ago today I had the wonderful, first-time privilege of seeing Mannheim Steamroller in concert!!  I’m sure in your homes too that Mannheim is synonymous with Christmas – I can’t imagine it being Christmas and not listening to their fantastic music.  They’ve been on the scene for over 30 years, and are firmly ingrained as a Christmas tradition in my family.  I’ve always wanted to see them in concert, but they usually come later in December when I’m traveling for the holidays.  This year they came in November and I was so excited that I could see them!

Their show was incredible!  It had an intimate feel to it, like the members had just congregated in your living room next to the tree for some instrumental caroling.  Their lighting, visuals, and effects were superb – they really enhanced the music without distracting you or giving a migraine.  The first half of the program was all Christmas music and they played most all of my favorites (except Silent Night; I was a bit disappointed about that).  They ended with O Holy Night with candles flickering on the screen behind the band and it was so beautiful that I had tears in my eyes as the last notes faded.

The second half featured a few Christmas songs and then focused on their non-holiday music.  For some of these, they had fascinating video clips.  One piece, called “Leonardo” showed scenes of the artist’s workshop – with him painting, teaching, sketching, making models, etc.  And in between those scenes they would show rapid succession images of his rough and finished paintings and his famous sketchbooks.  On another track I enjoyed, the camera guided you on a tour of a synthesizer being built, and paired that with blueprints, practice audio sessions, and orchestral scores.   A beautiful song called “Above the Northern Lights” displayed the aurora on the screen and featured green, blue, and purple lights that danced with snowflakes across the sides of the stage and onto the ceiling of the theater.  It felt like the audience was immersed in a shimmering aurora.  Oh, it was just beautiful.  They finished up with a few more Christmas songs and then came back onstage for their encore, which was Silent Night.  So we got to hear it after all!  It’s the most beautiful arrangement I’ve ever heard; and at the end where the cymbals swish through the melody sounding like the wind blowing, there was tangible magic in the air.  It was amazing and a perfect way to start the Christmas season.  I’m so grateful to have experienced my favorite Christmas music in person.

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Blessings to you,

Sarah

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1 Response to Gift #923: Mannheim Steamroller

  1. Eliza Waters says:

    Sounds like a wonderful show – I do love their music, seeing them in person must be so much better than a CD!

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