WATER VALLEY – On Friday, December 16, at 7 p.m., Foster Music and Arts’ Old School Theater will present The Yes Virginias Holiday Spectacular, an evening with Oxford’s favorite swingin’ and rockin’ holiday ensemble and their special guest Damein Wash.
The Yes Virginias were born on the back of a flatbed truck in 2007 (at the Big Truck Theater in Taylor), and they look forward to Christmas just like any other eight-year olds. Their affinity for red, green, silver and gold props and their childlike enthusiasm drive the swinging boogie-woogie, blues, rock, and soul sounds of the band. With original tinsel tunes by their own reformed Scrooge (guitarist Kevin Guyer) and classic covers from Elvis to Brenda Lee and back again, the Yes Virginias are a ho-ho-ho lot of fun.
The Yes Virginias’ passion for the music they play and the joy they spread at retirement homes, holiday markets, Christmas craft fairs, and parades has grown since 2007. They leave the classic carols to others, and instead focus on all the fun holiday pop songs out there. Everyone from Wayne Newton to Spinal Tap has recorded a Christmas tune, so The Yes Virginias mine the Christmas music vaults, add their own original holiday songs and sometimes even re-purpose everyday songs for Christmas use. Their motto is “Any song can be a holiday song.” Take Mustang Santa for example… “Mustang Santa, think you better slow those reindeer down.”
Lisa Harrison is the face and lead singer of the Yes Virginias. Her soulful, sultry voice and vibrant energy anchors the band, and she uses her faux fur, feather boas, springy hats, tinsel skirts, and red leather pants to put the performance over the top in fine holiday style.
Then there’s Kevin Guyer, who plays guitar, sings and writes for the Virginias. Over the past eight years, Guyer has gotten in touch with his inner Santa and discovered a talent for writing instantly hummable holiday tunes… quite a trick for someone who used to wake up on Christmas morning and say “Merry Day Off.”
Amy Fisher, known locally as the upright bassist for a number of popular bands, sings harmony and plays keyboards for the Virginias. She is also a key element of the Virginias’ sparkling floor-show silliness.
Bassist Kerry O’Donoghue is the true specialist in the band — she only plays Christmas music. Together with drummer Ricky Burkhead (a master of percussion and a man who can rock a Santa hat with the best of them), they lay down the solid rhythmic foundation for the wide variety of styles in the Virginias’ repertoire, from swing, blues and rock to country, funk and Latin.
Joining the Virginias for this show will be one of Oxford’s other Christmas music experts, keyboardist and singer extraordinaire Damein Wash. As one of North Mississippi’s best-loved and most in-demand singers, Damein is constantly performing both solo and with his band the Soultones. Look for him to feature his original Christmas song “This Can’t Be Christmas” in his set.
The Old School Theater is a revitalized 250-seat school auditorium located inside the Melonvine Marketplace on the south side of Water Valley at 817 South Main Street. Foster Music & Arts regularly presents both national and regional music acts at the theatre with the stated mission of “cultivating the best live music in North Mississippi.”
The entire fall series of Foster Music & Arts shows are made possible by the generous support of both Valley Tool, Inc. and Turnage Drug Store of Water Valley. All Foster Music & Arts shows at the Old School Theater are also sponsored by The Caryl Company and the Melonvine Marketplace.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. 3o minutes before show time. The show is general admission. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door on the day of the show with cash. Tickets can also be purchased in advance with a credit card online at fostermusicarts.com.