“Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown” will take the stage in Steamboat Springs, Friday | SteamboatToday.com

‘Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown’ to entertain holiday crowds in Steamboat

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — "Christmastime is here. Happiness and cheer." For Peanuts fans, it wouldn't quite be Christmas without the holiday classic "A Charlie Brown Christmas."

In 1965, the first-ever Peanuts animated special film was played throughout households around the world. Now, over 50 years later, the tradition continues thanks to contemporary jazz piano legend David Benoit.

"Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown" will take the stage in Steamboat Springs at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21, at the Strings Music Pavilion. Acclaimed vocalist Sara Gazarek will also perform with Benoit.

The tribute concert spans the classics of Vince Guaraldi, along with holiday originals from Benoit, who became the music composer for the new Charlie Brown Christmas TV specials more than a decade ago.

This week, Explore Steamboat caught up with Benoit, a multiple Grammy-nominated solo artist, to chat about the show that will likely spark the holiday spirit for all.

Explore Steamboat: What originally inspired this tribute concert?

David Benoit: It was the funeral service for Charles Shulz, the creator of Peanuts. I was asked to do a tribute to the music of Charlie Brown. It inspired the Christmas tour and still does today.

ES: Can you remember the first time you saw “A Charlie Brown Christmas?” What was it that drew you to this show?

DB: I remember it quite well, actually. We were gathering around the black and white T.V. as a family in 1965 and watched it for the first time. The music was what stood out most for me. I fell in love with the music.

If you go

What: "Christmas Tribute to Charlie Brown"

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 21

Where: Strings Music Pavilion, 900 Strings Road

ES: Do you have a favorite song or one that resonates the most?

DB: Absolutely. That would be "Christmastime is Here."

ES: What is it about Charlie Brown that emulates the spirit of Christmas?

DB: It talks about the true meaning of Christmas, which, at that time, was already getting too commercial. It reminds people what it's really about.

ES: Why do you think there is a need to share this with audiences all over the U.S. each holiday season?

DB: People want to re-live the elegance and simplicity of the music of Charlie Brown.

ES: What should the audience be on the lookout for during the performance?

DB: The star of the show, of course — the Little Tree.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

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