Rock My Soul, a highly acclaimed, 20-member secular choir that specializes in rich harmonies and unique arrangements of roots, blues, Americana, and gospel music, will perform three Rockin’ Soulful Holiday Concerts in NH and Maine. The shows will take place at the following locations: the First United Methodist Church in Portsmouth, NH, at 7 pm on Saturday, December 4; St. John’s Methodist Church in Dover, NH, at 5 pm on Sunday, December 12; and One Longfellow Square in Portland, ME, at 4 pm on Sunday, December 19. CDs (including a brand-new digital Christmas EP) will be available for sale, along with refreshments and other merchandise.
This year, COVID protocols will be implemented to keep audiences healthy and safe. Proof of vaccination must be shown before entering the venue, masks must be worn while inside, and tickets will be limited to 2/3 capacity in order to make social distancing possible. Because of the smaller number of tickets available, early advance purchase is highly recommended, as shows will sell out more quickly than usual.
“It’s become a tradition for many people and families to attend our holiday shows,” says Dawn Boyer, founder and director. “Some have come since the group started in 2004, and we’re eager to perform again for them—as well as new audience members—after taking a hiatus last year because of the pandemic.”
Songs will range from “gospelized” versions of familiar tunes such as “White Christmas” and an Aretha Franklin-inspired arrangement of “Joy to the World,” to the less familiar but no less inspiring “Prince of Peace” and “Rise Up Shepherd and Follow.” In contrast to the high-energy sound are introspective carols such as a Temptations-inspired arrangement of “Silent Night” and John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over),” as well as new songs added to the repertoire such as Louis Armstrong’s “’Zat You, Santa Claus,” Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby,” and the Blind Boys of Alabama’s “Merry Christmas.” Other audience favorites, such as “O Holy Night” and “Jingle Bells” will also be included.
“This year, we’ll have new songs in the repertoire we’re excited about, as well as some old favorites we haven’t done in a while,” says Boyer. “We also have some incredibly talented new band members to help us pull out all the stops and raise the bar even higher.”
Featured soloists for the evening will include Dawn Boyer, Ginny Cole, Jody Dugrenier, Dave Estes, Alex Krauth, Liz Mayer, Dave Morrison, and Terry Olson. The Rock My Soul band—Mike Effenberger on keyboards, Jim Dozet on guitar, Dan MacLellan on bass, John Mettam on drums, Jimmy Clark on trumpet, and Nick Mainella on saxophone—will accompany the group.
To purchase advance tickets for the December 4 show in Portsmouth, NH, and the Dec. 9 show in Dover, NH, visit www.projectmusicworks.org or call 207-450-8016. For the Dec. 19 show at One Longfellow Square in Portland, ME, visit onelongfellowsquare.com or call 207-761-1757. Ticket prices vary depending on the venue the show is held in.
Rock My Soul is part of ProjectMusicWorks, a nonprofit arts and cultural organization dedicated to performing free outreach concerts at hospice, homeless shelters, nursing homes, rehab programs, and other facilities that support those in need. By performing the songs and educating audiences about the history behind them, ProjectMusicWorks hopes to lift hearts, open minds, and bring people closer together to understand the meaning of peace, equity, respect, unity, and justice.