White Horse Black Mountain presents Christmas music


Two shows coming up at White Horse Black Mountain will be great additions to your holiday plans.

Singer Peggy Ratusz, pianist Michael Jefry Stevens and an ace band offer an antidote to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 with “Singing Your Holiday Blues Away,” a special show at White Horse Black Mountain. Tickets are $15.

The Great American Songbook is blessed with many timeless classics inspired by the range of emotions summoned up by the winter holidays, from childish wonder to bittersweet nostalgia. Those feelings are just waiting to be evoked by these gifted musicians.

Ratusz shines in live performance, bringing songs to life with her impressive command of American popular musical styles. In her work with various musical configuration she’s at home with jazz, swing, blues, soul and R&B. She has a special talent for getting to the heart of each song and the hearts of listeners.

Stevens is an versatile and respected figure in the jazz world in the U.S. and Europe who performs in ensembles that range from jazz classics to the avant garde. Joining Stevens and Ratusz in chasing away the holiday blues will be Ben Bjorlie on drums, Grant Cuthbertson on bass and Jonathan Perlman on guitar.

AmiciMusic, which regularly brings classical music to White Horse Black Mountain, presents a new holiday event with a special program entitled “Clarinet Holiday - A Festival of Pipes.”

Ensembles of clarinets of all shapes and sizes will occupy the White Horse stage at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20 for a concert reflecting the richness of December holiday traditions. Tickets are $15 advance and $20 at the door.

Groups made up of solely of the various sizes and voices of the versatile woodwind are a fairly new phenomenon.

But their lack of baggage means that they’re free to tackle everything from transcriptions originally composed for other configurations to music written expressly for the format.

The Asheville Clarinet Quartet is a recently founded chamber ensemble made up of Anne Salter, Jonathan Salter, Gary Spaulding and Steve Loew. It has a repertoire that ranges through classical, jazz, tango, klezmer and more.

Loew also directs the larger Woodsong Clarinet Choir, which will appear on the program along with the Quartet and the Reynolds High School Clarinet Choir.

And if that’s not enough clarinet, “licorice stick” players of all ages are also invited to bring their own instrument to join the celebration in a community play-along.