Renowned music artists and performers Heather Headley, Ricky Skaggs, John Patitucci, David Kim and Laura Story will appear as special guests in selected cities on Keith & Kristyn Getty's annual Christmas concert tour An Irish Christmas – A Celebration of Carols, returning this December with 20 performances in some of the best-known concert venues in the US.
The annual tour, which was broadcast as a public television special last year, will kick off on December 2 near Dallas, TX and will make stops in Washington D.C. (The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Opera House), New York City (Carnegie Hall), Atlanta (The Fox Theatre), Philadelphia (The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts), Nashville (Schermerhorn Symphony Center), Cleveland (Severance Hall), and more.
Heather Headley is a Tony and Grammy Award-winning singer and actress, known for her roles in Elton John and Tim Rice's The Lion King and Aida, and more recently in this year's revival of The Color Purple. Headley's musical talents have crossed into pop, R&B, and gospel, and she was a featured performer on Andrea Bocelli's American and international tours, his Live in Tuscany PBS special and his Under the Desert Sky live concert DVD. She has released 3 albums and won a Grammy Award for the Best Contemporary R&B Gospel Album in 2010 for her third studio release Audience of One, which included her rendition of the Keith Getty and Stuart Townend-penned song, "The Power of the Cross."
Ricky Skaggs, who also took the stage with the Gettys on their sold-out Christmas tour stop at Carnegie Hall in 2014 and appeared on the Gettys' 2012 Hymns for the Christian Life album, is a bluegrass master and 14-time Grammy Award winner whose first recording with J.D. Crowe & the New South (1975), is heralded as one of the most influential bluegrass albums ever made. Skaggs is also a hugely successful country music artist who earned 8 Country Music Association awards including "Entertainer of the Year."
Bassist extraordinaire, John Patitucci, has performed and recorded with B.B. King, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, George Benson, Natalie Cole, Sting, Bon Jovi, Queen Latifah, Wynton Marsalis, Carole King and many more. He performed with the Gettys in 2015 on their sold-out Christmas tour stop at New York City's famed Carnegie Hall, and appeared as a guest on several tracks of the Gettys new album Facing A Task Unfininshed, released in June of this year. As a bandleader, Patitucci has released 12 albums and has won three Grammy Awards.
Violinist David Kim is the concertmaster of the Philadelphia Orchestra, appearing as a soloist each season and performing with orchestras and in festivals around the world. Kim started playing the violin at the age of three, began studies with the famed pedagogue Dorothy DeLay at the age of eight, and later received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the Juilliard School.
Laura Story is a Grammy-winning singer-songwriter who began her career as a bassist for the band, Silers Bald, but in a short period began to make her mark as a songwriter and solo artist. One of her early and well-known compositions, "Indescribable," was the title track of her debut release and has been covered by a host of Contemporary Christian artists. More recently, her song and recording of "Blessings" won a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song.
Also accompanying the Gettys is their band of Celtic and bluegrass musicians from North America and Ireland, along with additional special guest appearances in selected cities by noted pastor, author and speaker, Alistair Begg (Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, Nashville), actress and spoken word artist Blaire Linne (Philadelphia and New York), and tap dance artist Andrew Nemr (Philadelphia and New York).
Says Keith Getty, "All of our special guests on this year's tour are true legends in their respective fields, both in the sheer breadth of people who have experienced their music but also in the creative impact they will have on their genre and on future generations. We are truly honored to share a stage with them and to collectively and creatively express the joy and wonder each of us finds in the Christmas season."
The Gettys, who are regarded as the preeminent writers and performers of modern-day hymns, have designed this year's concert program in two parts. The first half will be presented as if the listener were attending a town-wide party in a public square, featuring hymns performed with an upbeat, global flair and accompanied by spectacular dancing. The second half will be highlighted by an audience sing-along of traditional Christmas carols as well as original and modern hymns. Favorite songs to be performed include God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; Joy Has Dawned; Joy to the World, Carol of the Bells, O Children Come, An Irish Christmas Blessing and In Christ Alone.
"Kristyn and I believe it's imperative for people to get together and sing together," says Getty. "What a great opportunity that Christmas brings for this – to join voices, from so many states and even other countries, and sing joyfully together about this unimaginable good news of Christmas."
2-Dec First United Methodist Church, Richardson, TX
3-Dec Grace Community Church, Overbrook, KS
4-Dec First Baptist Church Bentonville, Bentonville, AR
5-Dec Abilene Civic Center, Abilene, TX
7-Dec John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Opera House, Washington DC
**with special guests Alistair Begg and Ricky Skaggs
8-Dec South Church, Lansing, MI
9-Dec Cornerstone Baptist Church, Detroit, MI
10-Dec Christ Covenant Church, Matthews, NC
11-Dec Second Baptist Church, Warner Robins, GA
12-Dec The Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA
**with special guests Alistair Begg and Laura Story
13-Dec Prince Avenue Baptist Church, Bogart, GA
15-Dec Clowes Memorial Hall, Indianapolis, IN
16-Dec Englewood Baptist Church, Rocky Mount, NC
17-Dec First Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA (2 shows)
18-Dec Calvary Church, Lancaster, PA
19-Dec The Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, PA
**with special guests Alistair Begg, David Kim, Blair Linne, John Patitiucci, and Andrew Nemr**
20-Dec Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall, New York, NY
**with special guests Alistair Begg, Heather Headley, Blair Linne, John Patitiucci, and Andrew Nemr
21-Dec Severance Hall, Cleveland, OH
**with special guests Alistair Begg and Ricky Skaggs
22-Dec Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Nashville, TN
**with special guest Alistair Begg