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The bend will perform Dec. 21 in a concert featuring a wide variety of musical influences

What exactly is Eclectic Christmas?

Let founder Nate Macy explain: "Eclectic Christmas is a Christmas concert that hopes to create space to be present to the Christmas season. We use mostly traditional Christmas songs played in untraditional ways, different genres of music or combined with other tunes or musical styles."

So, if that's something that appeals to either your holiday or musical sensibilities, you'll want to attend the sixth season of the event at 7 p.m. Dec. 21 in the grand ballroom of the Chehalem Cultural Center, 415 E. Sheridan St. Tickets run $12 and the concert is expected to be roughly 90 minutes long.

The band charged with entertaining on that night is comprised of Macy on guitar, banjo, lap steel, trumpet and other instruments. He is a pastor at North Valley Friends Church in Newberg. Next is Aaron Pruitt on keyboard and vocals. He has a master's degree in jazz music from Portland State University and performs and teaches in the Portland area. Frank Verhoorn is featured on drums and percussion. A graduate of MIT, he plays in a variety of Portland-area bands. Vocalist Melissa Thomas is an actress, singer and member of Portland-area bands and choirs, as well as Gallery Theater in McMinnville. Nathanael Ankeny performs on saxophone, clarinet and whistle. He also a master's degree in jazz, this one from Eastern Washington University, and is a professor of jazz at George Fox University. Finally, there is Nolan Staples, a bassist and vocalist. The Newberg native is a professional bassist in Florida.

With that kind of line-up attendees of Eclectic Christmas can expect music ranging from Bach to bluegrass.

"The core of the group's music is jazz fusion, but we do blues, folk, rock and more," Macy said.

Ultimately, the goal of the effort is to build community.

"We really hope this is a time for the community to connect and have shared experience," he said. "Part of why we've started playing at the cultural center instead of at churches is to try to be more inclusive … of our core philosophies is to bring together community."

Previews of the music on tap at the Dec. 21 concert is available at EclecticChristmas.com and the band is on YouTube and Spotify as well.


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