Conspirare's Christmas at the Carillon with Ruthie Foster

The season's most glorious sounds – performed beyond the Carillon.

                      Foster the people.
                      Foster the people.

What did George Carlin say?
Something about how the only good thing about Christianity is the music?

Agree with the comedian's dismissal or not, who can deny the verity of his simultaneous praise regarding that religion's inspiration when it comes to raising, as the good book puts it, a joyful noise unto the Lord?

Not me, pal – and I'm an atheist.

I'm also a bit of a curmudgeon – right on, Grumpy Cat – and not somebody who gives much of a whoop-de-doo about this holiday season in general. But I'm also a product of American culture, and so I can't escape a minor hankering – a tiny little hankering – for just a skoshie of traditional holy-type sonic brilliance as the year draws to a close. Especially since my wife really enjoys that sort of thing.

So what I'm doing, I'm making sure that that one thing we indulge in?
I'm making sure it's the very best thing possible.

Ladies and gentlemen, A Conspirare Christmas.

You know Conspirare, right? Or at least you've heard of Conspirare, probably, because it's the choral organization led by conductor Craig Hella Johnson – so often described as "the boyish Craig Hella Johnson," because he's all blonde and somewhat surferesque, lookswise, has that whole ageless Dick Clark thing going on – and the group's garnered international acclaim, as they say. And if you've ever experienced one of their concerts, you were probably like, "Yeah, this is totally the sort of thing that should garner international acclaim," after you'd recovered from being pleasantly stunned by the transcendent goodness of what you'd just heard.

The voices of Conspirare, whether Austin-based or visiting from elsewhere, are unsurpassed in precision and passion and power; the direction and musical choices of Johnson, who likes to mix popular music and all manner of relevant ear candy in with the classical and the baroque, it's like getting a live holiday mixtape from your smartest artist friend.

That's one of the reasons why the Christmas at the Carillon gig – especially this year's iteration, which, like last year's, highlights the glorious voice of blues virtuosa Ruthie Foster – as you can hear on the group's new CD of the performance – that's why the Carillon gig is already long sold out.


Conspirare has added an extra show.

If you clicked the link above, you've already seen that this extra performance is at the Long Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, Dec. 8, at 8pm.

And if you haven't clicked that link yet, but want to experience one of the best things about Austin – and what's best about Christmas music anywhere – then you should click it pretty darned tout-de-suite, dear reader, because this added gig might sell out as well.

We can't recommend this show highly enough – and we'll see you there, insh'allah!

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Conspirare Christmas, Christmas at the Carillon, Ruthie Foster, holiday music, Christmas in Austin, George Carlin and blasphemy, joyful noise

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