Although only in its fifth year, Erin Zindle’s Holiday Show, titled Ebird and Friends, is fast becoming a cherished Ann Arbor December tradition at the Ark. Zindle, who fronts the popular pop-rock group The Ragbirds has brought together — each of the past four years — many of Southeast Michigan’s finest musicians and bands for an evening of holiday tunes to cheer for. This year’s lineup is filled with names familiar to local music lovers: Laith Al-Saadi, Madcat Ruth, Chris Buhalis, members of the Appleseed Collective, The Macpodz, Tyler Duncan (formerly of My Dear Disco) and others.
“I'm especially excited to have lots of female musicians this year,” says, Zindle, “Including Jetty Rae, Sophie Tulip, and Katie Lee, the "Ooh Girls" (my background vocalists – Jenny Jones, Shelly Smith and Elizabeth Royce), and the beautiful Moxie Strings (Diana Ladio and Alison Lyn). There are enough of us to kick all the boys off the stage for a little old-timey tune featuring some really sweet voices and strings.”
As before, The Ragbirds will serve as the house band, backing most of the other acts, while performing a few of their own songs as well. The roster of musicians is your first clue that there will be a wide range of music that night. But, as Zindle amplifies, “It's a diverse show with everything from blues, jazz, bluegrass, Celtic instrumentals, traditional carols, new twists on old classics, and original songs inspired by the holiday season.” As in previous years, you can count on seeing and hearing a stage-full of fiddles, horns, bagpipes, guitars and many other instruments from all over the world.
And if you saw any of the previous Holiday Shows, don’t worry, it’s not going to be a case of same ‘ol, same ‘ol. “It's a new set every year,” says Zindle. “The only one song that we repeat is the finale, Mary Had a Baby, because it has become a tradition for the whole cast to perform that song together.” But each year the motivation and the feeling behind the show remains the same. “I come from a large family and Christmas time was the only time of year that we all made music together,” says Zindle. “This had a deep impact on me as a young musician. I grew to love those sing-alongs, memorizing all the verses to make it last as long as I could. It was my first communal music experience, and this holiday show feels like a natural extension of that. It has become a real community-building event each year. I can't tell you how much I look forward to this show all year!”
Ebird and Friends will be at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., on Saturday, December 15. Tickets are $16. For more info, visit www.theark.org.