I really like to reconnect with the folks I’ve chatted with in the past, and this week is no exception. Back in November 2012 I interviewed local music teacher (at UMaine-Augusta and private lessons) and singer Marcia Gallagher concerning a show she was presenting at Slates in Hallowell called “A Tribute to Jazz Sirens” featuring her jazz quartet. I recently discovered that she was going to be at the same venue on Monday, Dec. 16 to present a singalong show, so the decision was made to see what folks can expect this time ’round from this talented young lady. Reached at her Hallowell home, she was more than happy to fill me in.

Q: So, you’re coming into Slates for a Christmas singalong show?
Gallagher: Yes, that’s what it is — a holiday singalong.

Q: “Holiday” as opposed to “Christmas” because it can be more inclusive?
Gallagher: Well, certainly there will be songs that have Christmas in them — you can’t avoid it (chuckle) — it’ll be the ones that people can sing along with so, yeah, it’ll be fun.

Q: Do you do this every year?
Gallagher: Not at Slates. I have done it yearly in Hallowell for probably about 12 or 13 years.

Q: Wow.

Gallagher: Yeah, it started at a place called The Higher Ground, that was the first incarnation of it, so it started then and then it kind of moved to different locations in Hallowell. One year we did it at Joyce’s Restaurant and then there was a place called Hallowell & Wine, we did it there a couple of years; and then at Easy Street Lounge. I’ve done it there the longest, probably, I’d say eight years, anyway, seven or eight, and then this year we decided to try it at Slates, as well. I will have already done the one at Easy Street by the time this article comes out, because I do that one on the first Saturday of the month; it’s the holiday celebration here in Hallowell, they’ll have a parade and fireworks and my show is right after that. So this will be a couple of weeks later, and I’m looking to have just as good of a time.

Q: Now, even though you haven’t done a holiday show at Slates, you have performed there in the past. You and Katie Daggett have teamed up and played there too, correct?
Gallagher: Yes, Katy and I have a duo we call “The Easy Happy Show,” which is kind of a cabaret-ish sort of silly thing, which is fun, and we do that maybe a couple of times a year.

Marcia Gallagher Photo by Karry and Alexander Studio

Q: And that duo has played there how often, just out of curiosity?
Gallagher: Probably, I’d say three or four times.

Q: Do you consider yourself a singer-songwriter?
Gallagher: No, not really. Mostly I just cover songs in a variety of genres.

Q: What’s your favorite?
Gallagher: I would say really anything can strike my fancy. If I hear a song that I like, that I’d like to re-do in my own way, I don’t have a lot of restrictions as to what I’ll chose. But I can’t really say that I have a favorite genre, I like all kinds of music.

Q: I, myself, really love Christmas music, whether it’s by Tennessee Ernie Ford or The Robert Shaw Choral or Jethro Tull, for that matter; there’s something about the spirit of that genre that is inherent in all its facets that touches the heart and can be very healing, as well.
Gallagher: Yeah, I agree and it’s a nice way, first of all, to bring the community together, but also to just help get in the spirit. … And these days we need all the help we can get to feel good about what’s going on. So, this is one way to just forget your troubles and come down and just have a good time. So many of the songs, too, are connected with childhood memories; I think that’s a fun part of it, you know?

Q: Yeah, I do. It takes you back and it’s comforting. It’s just good stuff.
Gallagher: Yes, I would agree with that. … And we need it more this year, I think, than in the past to get over some of our (laughter) differences, shall we say.

Q: So true, but I don’t like going down that road, so let me ask this, with all the material available out there in the seasonal music spectrum, how do you pick out what to cover? Is it personal preference, or do you try to make your sets as varied as possible?
Gallagher: Most of the songs that I choose have worked over the years doing the sing-alongs that I’ve done. Some of them I’ve gotten as suggestions from people in the crowds, some songs I’ve never heard before, so I’ll pick those up and, if they work, I’ll use them the following year. It’s just been a really eclectic variety, but mostly it’s stuff you can sing along with or echo or participate in some way. So, it’s nothing too highbrow, let me put it that way (chuckle), it’s just a lot of fun.

Q: Is there anything, Marcia, that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Gallagher: Just that we’d like to invite everybody to come down, you can have dinner before the show, which is nice. Dinner and a holiday show to put you in the spirit. Oh, and be sure to bring your bling; if you’ve got a Christmas sweater or hats or blinking lights around your neck or whatever it’s going to be, you’re more than welcome to join in the fun!

Lucky Clark has spent 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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