By Monica Jarrell, guest blogger
Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin have a well-earned reputation for delivering a quality show. During the Bettman and Halpin Christmas is a Funny Thing holiday concert, the duo kept the audience riveted with songs, storytelling and fantastic fiddle playing. The duo appeared to be having a great time performing and this enthusiasm affected the audience. They both have an easy, mellow way about them. They created a relaxed, homey feeling in the audience.
Christmas is a Funny Thing was a combination of well known, traditional Christmas tunes performed by Bettman and Halpin and original music written by Bettman and Halpin. Some of the traditional songs performed included “Drummer Boy,” “Blue Christmas,” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Some of the original songs written by Bettman and Halpin included “Fruitcake for All Seasons” and “We’ll Miss You Mama.” Ms. Bettman told the story of how she was inspired for each song she wrote.
The duo also performed some songs from their soon to be released CD. Ms. Bettman wrote and sang a song titled “White Rose.” The inspiration of this song is based on the Cherokee Nation’s Trail of Tears. I believe most of the audience felt the sorrow in this song. As I said before, Ms. Bettman tells great stories through her songs. I can’t wait for the CD to come out!
Stephanie Bettman is an all-around entertainer. Not only can she sing with a clear, smooth voice but she writes her own songs and plays the fiddle like no one I have ever heard. She comes across as a regular person with the keen ability of telling stories through songs.
Luke Halpin is the jokester of the group. He wore reindeer antlers when the show opened then changed into a “naughty” Santa hat later. He made funny faces, comments, and gestures. He is a gifted mandolin player. During this performance he played several different instruments, including the mandolin, and played each instrument expertly. The audience kept their eyes on this funny man, not knowing what was coming next.
The stage was decorated in festive Christmas decorations. The atmosphere was relaxed, fun and a great way to prepare for the holiday season. Bettman and Halpin included the audience in many of their Christmas songs. These sing a-longs created a warmer holiday feeling in the audience.
The rest of the quartet for this program were local performers. Bettman and Halpin, the bass player, and drummer only met for the first time the day before the program. No one would have known this group had not been playing together for years.
The bass player Alex Goldberg is a graduate from University of Colorado Denver with a B.S. in Bass Performance. He has several years of experience performing in many different venues. He is currently performing with the local band Chris Daniels and the Kings.
Ryan Elwood is also a local performer. He has performed with several different bands, including Adrienne O and the Austin Young Band. He has played at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre and Gothic Theater. He also teaches private lessons.
Bettman and Halpin: Christmas is a Funny Thing was a very entertaining show. I recommend that you try to see this group the next time they come to town. At the very least pick up their CD. You won’t be disappointed.