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Nanaimo jazz pianist revisits music from Charlie Brown Christmas special

Patrick Courtin and his Mahogany Hall Jazz Ensemble performing series of concerts
Nanaimo jazz pianist Patrick Courtin and his band – drummer James McRae, bassist Andrew Cullen and vocalist Simon Paterson – will be performing music from ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ and other standards at Unitarian Hall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

A Nanaimo jazz pianist and his band are presenting a series of concerts offering good cheer and good grief.

On Dec. 17 and 18 Patrick Courtin and his Mahogany Hall Jazz Ensemble – singer Simon Paterson, trumpeter Dean Boland, bassist Andrew Cullen and drummer James McRae – present A Charlie Brown Christmas at Unitarian Hall. The concert will feature the music from the 1965 A Charlie Brown Christmas special as well as jazz takes on other seasonal standards.

Courtin calls the cartoon soundtrack “endearing” and “nostalgic” and said his young piano students know the music even if they haven’t seen the television special. Courtin performed this concert for the first time two years ago and said the response was “really positive.”

“People really enjoyed it and I thought to myself, ‘Man, I would really love to do this again,’ and then COVID hit…” he said. “But we’re really excited to be playing shows again.”

Among the non-Charlie Brown music in the show is bandleader Duke Ellington’s arrangement of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker called Sugar Rum Cherry, a funk version of Jingle Bells and classics like I’ll be Home for Christmas and Walking in a Winter Wonderland. After the Nanaimo dates Courtin will be taking the show to Parksville and Comox.

“I just really love the music and I’m really excited about the show,” Courtin said. “I’m really happy to do it. I would love to make it an annual thing because the music really holds a special place in a lot of people’s hearts and I know that people have said it’s really exciting to hear it played live.”

WHAT’S ON … Patrick Courtin and the Mahogany Hall Jazz Ensemble present A Charlie Brown Christmas at Unitarian Hall, 595 Townsite Rd., on Dec. 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets $25 for adults, $10 for youth. Available at Fascinating Rhythm and online. Masks and proof of vaccination required.

RELATED: Nanaimo jazz pianist performs the music of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’

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