MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER NOL at the Music Center in Strathmore

Mannheim road roller. Photo courtesy of Strathmore.

With over a dozen Christmas albums (and over 31 million albums sold), Mannheim Steamroller is the number one Christmas music artist of all time, and their annual holiday tour has become a tradition. holiday dear to many families. On Saturday, December 4, the 2021 Christmas Tour made a stop in the Washington, DC area at the Music Center in Strathmore. Strathmore’s intimate surroundings and excellent acoustics made it an ideal setting for the intricate musical works of Mannheim Steamroller.

In the 36 years since Davis chip mounted the first Christmas tour, it has become so popular that there are currently two groups on tour, with a third group in residence at Universal Orlando. The Strathmore show featured the Red Tour Cast – a core sextet consisting of Mark Agnor (Concertmaster, Violin), Tom Sharpe (Drums, Recorders), Anna Lackaff (Harpsichord, Keyboard), Christopher Forte (Bass, Guitar, Lute) ), David Plank (Keyboards) and Joey Gulizia (Percussions, Recorders), all supported by a strong orchestra of strings, brass and winds. The core set was able to deliver the calm, meditative numbers with a skillful twist, while the combined sextet and orchestra brought sizzling majesty and power to Davis’ cleverly arranged Mannheim Steamroller standards – classics. reinvented as Terrace the rooms, and Alleluia by Handel Messiah. Although the live performances are almost identical reproductions of record albums, the live performances offer a depth and energy that can only be experienced in a live setting.

Music is definitely the star here – the lighting effects are pretty basic, but they add a nice dose of ambiance and emotion to the show, without becoming a show on their own. The video elements (which may have been recycled as a tribute to the original tour) are a bit dated and dated. But like lighting, they sometimes add a quaint touch, without distracting from the glorious music.

The first half of the concert was a solid eclectic collection from the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album catalog, with a few Fresh Aire issues dotted around. After the intermission, the band played the entire Xmas album, with three other numbers completing the second half of the performance. The members of the sextet have excellent chemistry on stage and engage with audiences in a way you don’t see with most orchestral groups.

Timeless traditions are what puts us in a festive spirit, and an evening with the cast and crew of Mannheim Steamroller will start your holiday season on a high note. The current tour runs through December 30.

Duration: 2h15 with intermission.

Mannheim Steamroller was a one-day engagement and two performances on December 4, 2021. For future events at Strathmore, click here.

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