Saturday, December 12, 2015

Johnny Mathis Christmas concert in Portland

Johnny Mathis and Gil Reigers. Photo credit: Wolf Trap

A couple days ago I had an early Christmas present (to myself) when Mike and I went to see a Christmas concert featuring the Oregon Symphony and Johnny Mathis. It just can't get any more Christmas-y than that, and we had front row seats since I bought them the second they went on sale back in May.

It was even better than I anticipated. The show started with 30 minutes of the (2016 Grammy-nominated) Oregon Symphony playing the most beautiful arrangements of Christmas music I've ever heard. Such sweeping, moving music as if we were in the score of a Christmas film.

Then Johnny Mathis took the stage and opened with my favorite track of his, Walking in a Winter Wonderland. His voice is strong. He can still hit the high notes, and all the songs he performed are still exactly as originally recorded. No changing keys to accommodate his age of 80 years. In addition to being backed by the symphony, he brought his own band as well, and it was a supreme pleasure to watch them. He also performed some of his classic love songs and closed with an incredible salsa/Brazilian number that really took me to a different place. Since we were in the front row we were able to shake his hand at the end of the show, and realized we missed an opportunity to bring flowers or a gift. Oh well.

We also met some other nice people in the front row including a very interesting gentleman who has quite a few fascinating stories. We hope to see him again sometime as he invited us to see his beach house next year and has already been in touch with us a couple times. It was a real treat to get to talk to another adult who had good stories and was so friendly. All in all the entire evening was a rare and special privilege for us.

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