New Orleans Sings Along at Christmas Time

[Updated] According to singer Judith Owen, Christmas has two sides—“Bloody awful and wonderful,” and both are represented in Christmas songs. When sung together, they’re shared expressions of community, but “they're all about yearning,” she said in 2012. “They're about missing home. They're about missing people. Songs like 'White Christmas' and 'The Christmas Song' are about yearning. 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas' is one of the saddest songs I've heard in my entire life."

Judith Owen Sings About What's Really Important at Jazz Fest

When Judith Owen presides over the annual Christmas sing-along show that she does each year with husband Harry Shearer, she's a big presence. She can be as tender as the moment requires, but she can also ride herd on the audience if necessary, charming or cajoling a situation into submission as the show requires. Nobody brings more lion tamer to the holiday season than Owen.

Owen and Shearer Explore the Two Sides of Christmas

For Judith Owen, Christmas music is a full-contact sport. It doesn't exist on records and CDs sung by Crosby or Cole or Carey or Bieber; it's made to be sung, preferably loudly with a large group of people. It's a personal and social phenomenon as much as a musical one, and the Judith Owen and Harry Shearer Holiday Sing-Along is all about participation tonight and tomorrow night at the Contemporary Arts Center.

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