PORT ANGELES — Electric six-string violinist Geoffrey Castle will celebrate the magic of Christmas during a special performance Sunday.
Castle — joined by keyboardist Ryan Shea Smith, bassist Steve Boyce and drummer Darin Watkins — will perform Celtic style music from 4 p.m. at the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave. The show is sponsored by the Juan de Fuca Foundation.
“This show is all about the magic of Christmas and a time that predates the commercialized Christmas of today,” Castle said.
“Be ready to be transported back to the Misty Isles.”
Tickets for the Geoffrey Castle Celtic Christmas Celebration are $10, $15, $25 or $35, dependant on seating, and available online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2709288.
The concert also will feature guest performances by the Port Angeles High School orchestra, band and choir.
“They sound like a professional soundtrack orchestra,” Castle said, adding the student musicians will perform prior to the show, during intermission and after the show.
In addition, “they will be joining me for at least one song.”
Even Santa Claus will stop in for a visit, Castle said.
During the performance, Castle and his group will perform traditional Christmas tunes, albeit with a Gaelic twist, he said.
“There is lots and lots and lots of amazing music directly related to Christmas celebrations going back thousands of years,” Castle said.
“Christmas has been around for 2,000 years and there has been music the whole time. What I really like to do is go back and find these rare unusual European songs that are related to winter and songs that are related to the season, and give them a modern spin.”
Castle described the performance as a “high energy rock show where we are playing music from the Middle Ages.”
“You are going to recognize a lot of these songs because they are standards like ‘Good King Wenceslas’ and ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,’ ” Castle said.
“I like Christmas tunes that were written before the advent of electricity and the commercialization of Christmas. It has turned into a major shopping holiday, and gift giving always was a big part of it, but it was also really supposed to be about community.”
Castle has been performing on violin since he was 8 years old, according to his biography.
While attending Columbia University, Castle earned income as a street musician, busking around New York City. He rose to fame when offered the chance to perform with the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, “M. Butterfly.”
Castle, of Kirkland, moved to Washington from New York City about 20 years ago, he said.
First show in state
“My first performance anywhere in Washington state was in Port Angeles in 1994 at the Juan de Fuca Festival,” Castle said.
“I have had a great relationship with the Juan de Fuca Festival ever since. They were kind enough to sponsor this concert in support of the performing arts center there at the high school.”
Castle said Celtic music is an art form that has universal appeal.
“There is something about this music that transcends all music genres and I think is universally appealing in a unique way,” he said.
“[The music] has a global appeal that is really rare for an art form based in a specific folk tradition.”
Not just about Irish
And while Castle has Irish ancestors, Celtic music “is not just about being Irish,” he said.
Castle invites the public to attend the show.
“Tell all your friends and bring the family,” he said.
“You will laugh, you will cry. You will have an amazing time and you can do all your Christmas shopping at the CD table. Music is a gift … guaranteed not to go bad in the refrigerator. It makes a great stocking stuffer too.”
For more information, visit www.geoffreycastle.com.
Features Editor Chris McDaniel can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56650, or at [email protected].