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Musco Center Presents Mark O'Connor's AN APPALACHIAN CHRISTMAS

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Mark O'Connor's "An Appalachian Christmas," an evening of holiday favorites performed by Grammy Award-winning bluegrass and American roots musicians, comes to Musco Center for the Arts on Tuesday, December 17 at 7:30pm. The O'Connor family and their band invigorate familiar holiday classics for a delightful, musically satisfying gift to Orange County families.

In addition to these fresh, playful, and joyous versions of beloved Christmas songs, composer and fiddler Mark O'Connor includes a few original compositions in the spirit of the season. The music is so appealing that the group's Mark O'Connor's An Appalachian Christmas album was Number 1 on Billboard's Bluegrass Album charts in 2011. It has remained in the Top Five each year since, becoming a perennial Christmas classic hailed as a Top 10 holiday album by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Los Angeles Times. According to The Boston Globe, "All Christmas music should be played so elegantly on violin."

Tickets for Mark O'Connor's "An Appalachian Christmas" begin at $25 and are available online at www.muscocenter.org or by calling Musco Center at 844-626-8726 (844-OC-MUSCO).

Heartfelt music from the heartland

The current band made its first appearance in 2015 at the same Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, Kansas where a teenage Mark O'Connor won national competitions on three instruments. Within a year and a half their debut record, Coming Home, won the Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album. In addition to Mark on fiddle the band includes his wife Maggie (fiddle/vocals), son Forrest (mandolin/vocals), and daughter-in-law Kate Lee (fiddle/vocals) along with Joe Smart (guitar) and Michael Rinne (upright bass).

"It's been one of the most surprising and rewarding experiences to perform with my family members on stage, both in our regular band concerts and in my annual 'An Appalachian Christmas' tour," O'Connor says. "It's really exciting to bend these American genres in new ways that combine audience accessibility with our instrumental musicianship and vocals."

The band has performed at the Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony, the Grand Ole Opry, with the Zac Brown Band at Fenway Park, and at numerous bluegrass festivals including GreyFox, Grand Targhee and Wintergrass. They add Musco Center for the Arts to a long list of other world-class performing arts centers like Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

During more than 45 years as a recording artist, O'Connor has released 45 feature albums while creating such successful projects as New Nashville Cats, Strength in Numbers, Heroes, American Music Shop, Appalachia Waltz, Hot Swing Trio, The Fiddle Concerto, and his revolutionary O'Connor Method for string education. O'Connor has won three Grammy Awards and seven Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, appeared on 450 country albums, collaborated with the likes of Johnny Cash, Wynton Marsalis, John Williams, Dolly Parton, and Yo-Yo Ma, and performed everything from original violin concertos at Carnegie Hall to swing at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Of the other family members, Forrest is a Harvard graduate and former Tennessee State Mandolin Champion; Kate frequently performs on the CMA Awards and CMA Country Christmas shows; and wife Maggie is a graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University.

The recently released Mark O'Connor Band Live! is a stunning showcase of their most exciting concert and festival material to date.


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