By: Sandi Durell
It’s that time of year. . . again and it’s always punctuated by the magnificent voice of James Barbour who yearly graces the stage of Birdland singing songs of the season to a filled-to-capacity room. And December 6th was no different other than the fact that Mr. Barbour is now starring in Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera and brought several members of the cast along.
It surely is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (opening song) and we need more than a little Christmas this year in light of all the global events that take our focus away from this glorious holiday season. The rich, power-filled voice of James Barbour is just what the doctor ordered, accompanied by Brian Taylor.
Barbour’s exceptional vocal range and and technique to produce a multitude of distinctive sounds puts a different spin when hearing “White Christmas” or the sensitive, heart-warming “The Magic of This Day” (for his Mom) and especially the poignant “Believe, ” . . . believe in what you feel inside . . . believe in what your heart is saying. Words to live by!
He has a great sense of humor that creeps into one’s sensibility adding just the right touch as his uplifting words of wisdom take root . . . reboot and start over. . . move forward, rise up beyond.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” became a fun-filled audience participation as groups around the room jumped into the fray adding their voices with partridges, swans, turtles and doves in competition for some special gifts. And the first night of Hanukkah was acknowledged with the “Dreidel Song.”
Phantom cast members Jeremy Stolle sang a holiday song in Latin, followed by Laird Mackintosh with “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve, ” while Jeremy Hays and Julia Udine dueted on “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”
The evening came to a close as James and the entire cast sang “Silent Night” with additional choruses from the audience.
An uplifting, heart-warming evening . . . perfect!
Photos: Kevin Alvey