SOH Holiday Concert Series

Acclaimed singer-songwriter, Jewel, is a featured artist for the Sheridan Opera House’s Holiday Concert Series. (Courtesy photo)

Just when you’ve managed to collapse the holiday boxes, toss the wrapping and ribbons and digest the Christmas feast, the Holiday Concert Series at the historic Sheridan Opera House (SOH) kicks off tonight (Friday) with five live concerts each night through New Year’s Eve. 

“It’s busy,” said Maggie Stevens, SOH PR & marketing director. “But it’s good-busy.”

Stevens says she books bands for the holiday series that she thinks will appeal to tourists. 

“All five acts are really established,” she said. “This year we got really lucky: we have three incredibly strong, powerhouse female performers in a row. And those shows are all seated and might appeal to an older demographic and also to families.”

Immediately following each holiday series performance, there’s a free after-show in the SHOW bar featuring local musicians. 

“That’s fun for people who are walking around at night, as these shows usually start around 10 or 10:30 p.m.,” explained Stevens. “You can just come to the SHOW bar and have a drink and see some local music for free. You don’t have to have a ticket.”

Tonight’s kick-off performance features an acoustic set of music beginning at 8 p.m. by Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall who was nominated for a Grammy in 2007 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her song “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” The free after-show features music by locals Leah Heidenreich and Sean Mahoney.

Saturday features American singer-songwriter Jewel, who will perform two acoustic shows at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Jewel has received four Grammy award nominations and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. The after-show features music by Emerita Unplugged, comprised of locals Emma Gross and Brett Neuman.

While both the KT Tunstall and Jewel shows are sold out, Stevens encourages interested parties to contact the SOH because they hold a handful of tickets for holiday patrons and may end up releasing them prior to each sold out show. 

On Sunday, American vocalist and Motown legend Mary Wilson, founding and longest member of The Supremes, will take the historic stage at 8 p.m. The after-show features music by locals Claybrook Penn and Tom Nading.

American producer and DJ Douglas Appling, more commonly known as Emancipator — a giant in the electronic music scene — is scheduled to perform on Monday, at 8 p.m.

“Emancipator is for a younger crowd but it’s not just 20-somethings,” said Stevens. “It’s an ideal show for adult kids who are coming into town. Emancipator came last year and sold out a month in advance of the show.”

The after-show Monday night will feature music from local DJ Castle.

The Holiday Concert Series crescendos on New Year’s Eve with music by the Pimps of Joytime, an intersection of Brooklyn’s indie music scene, New Orleans funk and San Francisco soul. Tickets are $100 and include a glass of champagne and a balloon drop at midnight. Reserved balcony seating ($250-$500) includes light fare and drinks. Doors are at 9 p.m., with the performance starting at 10:30 p.m.

“They’re always just a huge, fun party,” Stevens said. “They’ll be a great New Year’s Eve band. And it’s a neon dress theme.”

The final free after-show on New Year’s Eve features music from local DJ Sean Mahoney.

The Sheridan Opera House is 106 years old, an intimate, historic space originally constructed for vaudeville and acoustic acts and the concert series serves as a fundraiser for the Sheridan Arts Foundation, which was founded in 1991 as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. The nonprofit’s mission is to restore and preserve the historic SOH as an arts and cultural resource for the Telluride community, to bring quality arts and cultural events to Telluride and to provide local and national youth with access and exposure to the arts through education.

To that end, in exchange for an $8,500 donation, the holiday patron program provides two tickets to each of the five holiday concerts. Patrons are seated at a cabaret table for four in the balcony at the New Year’s Eve party where they’re served free champagne all night long.

“Our concert income doesn’t keep our doors open. Donations from individuals do,” explained Stevens. “And a lot of people want to make donations before the end of the tax year. You get your name in the marquee at the door in the vestibule and we thank our holiday patrons at each of the concerts.”

In other SOH news, tickets went on sale last week for the 21st annual Telluride Comedy Festival, hosted by Jeb Berrier who curates a weekend featuring some of the funniest comedians in the business. Comedy Fest takes place over President’s Day Weekend, Feb. 13-16. The line-up and schedule will be announced in January.

Tickets also went on sale last week for the 30th annual KOTO Lip Sync contest scheduled for Jan. 24. An epic Telluride tradition benefiting KOTO radio, this year’s shenanigans include the return of local emcees Suzanne Cheavens and Ashley Boling.

For more information on performances and to buy tickets, go to sheridanoperhouse.com.