The Voice

Okay, we admit it… we didn’t want Christmas to end! As they say, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year,” and with Linda’s new Christmas album to help brighten our days throughout the season, we’re sure we were not alone in feeling this way! But alas, January is well upon us and Christmas 2013 has become a happy memory. Here’s one last reflection on Christmas 2013, which thanks to Linda’s CHRISTMAS WHERE YOU ARE album, will be known to many of us as “THE perfect Christmas season.”

By December 27th, the excitement of Christmas was beginning to fade as the New Year approached. However, for those who were lucky to be in Boston on the 27th and 28th of the month, it was still Christmas at Sculler’s Jazz Club. Accompanied by the best musicians in the business and a fabulous choir, Linda kept the spirit of Christmas alive with four incredible shows.

Some of Linda’s fondest memories are of singing as part of her high school choir, so when the Christmas Season rolls around every year, she always looks forward to including a choir in her shows. A small but incredible group of singers under the direction of Lisa Gwasda had the privilege of joining Linda on stage at Sculler’s Jazz Club for four amazing shows and have written about the wonderful experience.

“It seemed like the holidays would never come when we recorded Linda Eder's new album ‘Christmas Where You Are’ this past summer! Well it did, and it came and went so fast, but not without the excitement and honor of bringing some of those songs to life for some of Ms. Eder's concerts!

Working as Choir Director for Linda Eder has been nothing short of amazing! Our four shows at Sculler’s Jazz Club in Boston were no exception! One thing that was truly different and special was playing a club vs. a concert hall! While we had to adjust musically, and sing some choral-style scores in more of a back-up style, the fear of that transformation quickly went away when we stepped on stage, saw/heard the amazing audiences, and, of course, shared the energy on that stage with all of the musicians!

Thank you to my 8 amazing singers and to Jerry Marotta, Dave Finck, Peter Calo, and Billy Stein for working with us and letting us squeeze on stage with you! And, of course, a huge thank you to Linda Eder for being just so incredibly talented and so much fun to work with! Those shows will be something the other singers and I will not soon forget! Happy New Year!”

~Lisa Gwasda, Choir Director

“Singing with Ms. Eder was truly a pleasure. She is a true professional. She brought her talents into the room and left her ego at the door. Simple pleasure at its best!!!”

~Matthew Bellas

“Boston has always held a special place in my heart, so when I was asked to join a small ensemble to sing backup for Linda Eder's shows at Sculler's Jazz Club, I was ecstatic. I couldn't imagine a better way to end 2013 than by sharing the gift of music with a city that has endured so much this year. Sharing the stage with Linda is always an incredible experience. In addition to being an amazing performer, she is an extremely gifted teacher. From vocal technique and performance advice, to her absolutely contagious energy and stage presence, working with Linda has helped me to grow as a singer in countless ways. I couldn't be more grateful to Linda and the band for allowing us the opportunity to help her bring her songs to life in Boston!”

~Ericka Leonard

Linda and members of The Holiday Choir


Clare Lundberg is one of the lucky fans who attended Linda’s show at Sculler’s and has shared her experience here.

Well, Christmas is over but the gifts keep coming, and there is no sweeter gift than spending an hour with one of the finest singers around – Linda Eder. Eager fans start arriving at Scullers Jazz Club located in the Double Tree Hotel in Boston for the first of two shows scheduled on this evening. The weather is mild for December, but the atmosphere is heating up with anticipation as the 8 o’clock hour approaches.

Linda with Fan Clare Lundberg

Linda with Fan April Swiniuch

Fans compare notes on how many times they have been to a Linda Eder concert and in which venues. I happily confess that I have attended no fewer than 15 of Linda’s concerts held in a variety of Boston-area venues, including every one held at Sculler’s. This small and intimate club provides a perfect setting for those who like their favorite artists up close and personal during performances. I am definitely one of those people.

A few minutes before show time, the band members take their positions and are followed by a number of similarly attired men and women. I quickly realized that a small choir would accompany Linda at this performance. Considering that there would be a number of songs from her new holiday CD, this made sense, but gee, that stage is awfully small for all those people and Linda too!

Just as I was thinking about how this was going to work, Linda was announced and joined the group on stage. Linda opened the show with a quick greeting and then began her first song of the evening, “Through the Eyes of Love” from the movie Ice Castles. Well, that was a surprise. I remembered that this was one of the songs Linda sang on Star Search, so it was nice to hear an updated version. We soon learned that she would be singing a combination of songs from her new CD and would also be taking us down “memory lane” with songs that she always liked but never recorded, many of them Broadway tunes. This was followed by hoots and loud applause as fans expressed their appreciation. Linda seemed relaxed, at ease and ready to entertain.

Next up came “O Come All Ye Faithful” from the new CD, Christmas Where You Are, accompanied by the choir. Hers is a more up-tempo version of the song and gets us into the holiday mood. Linda then explains to the audience about her fan contest that helped select half the songs for her album and introduces the song that came in as the number one fan choice, “Merry Christmas, Darling.” While no one can forget that Karen Carpenter’s warm alto made that song a holiday classic, Linda’s soprano voice lends a sweeter, more wistful quality to the song.

Detour back to Broadway with “The Mad Hatter” from Wonderland. While not one of my personal favorites, it was a crowd pleaser nonetheless. It was fun hearing Linda’s comments on her collaboration with former now ex-husband Frank Wildhorn. His music combined with her voice (and sometimes lyrics) makes for a truly magical team. Continuing with Broadway, the opening strains of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” gets the audience excited for what is to come, and they are not disappointed. My friend gasped, “I love that song!” as Linda began with the halting opening lyric and then she soared for the refrain. The choir had a solo moment and then joined her for the rousing finish.

Back to Christmas with the “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree/Holly Jolly Christmas” medley and then my absolute favorite song of the new CD, “The Silence of Snow,” with lyrics by Linda and music by Frank. This is such a gorgeous song that has won the coveted “repeat” button on my iPod. If this song ever gets airplay on the radio, I have no doubt that it could become a holiday classic. Here’s praying that someone can make this happen next year. Linda sings it so beautifully that I wanted to hit “repeat” again after her performance.

Shifting moods, Linda tells the story of when she was just starting out and had very little experience, she was confronted with a situation where the piano player began a song five keys too high for her. She didn’t realize that she could stop him and fix the problem before trying to sing in a key that was way off for her voice. We are then presented with “Sam, You Made the Pants Too Long,” the song that piano player started wrong so many years earlier. While this was an odd song choice, it is still Christmas and surprises are always welcome.

Linda introduces the next number by telling us that she had thought of singing something from the Sound of Music earlier this year and then the recent telecast of the Sound of Music with Carrie Underwood happened. Now she is afraid that we would think she was just taking advantage of the current interest. The audience’s response indicated that we were just fine with her belting out one of that score’s tunes. Much to everyone’s delight, Linda started “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.” Linda’s vocal range is well suited to this demanding song and she soared where she should soar and then pulled back in those lyrical moments of hope and encouragement. Again, the choir had its solo moment and joined Linda for the final chorus. However, this is a song that needed nothing else but Linda to move the audience emotionally.

Another odd shift to Abba’s “Fernando” sung as a duet with Peter Calo on guitar. Their voices blended nicely and Linda encouraged the audience to join in on the chorus. It was a fun few moments as we neared the end of the show. Winding down the show, Linda and the choir begin to sing “Do You Hear What I Hear.” This is one of my favorites from her first holiday album, Christmas Stays the Same and sounds just as lovely sung live.

Linda ends the show with the audience favorite, “Man of La Mancha.” While I missed the standard trumpet opening, it is still always a fun song and appreciated for the vocal range and stamina needed to pull it off. Linda thanks the audience, and reminds everyone that she will be out in the lobby to sign her holiday CD and to greet fans. She walks off to a standing ovation (Of course, this is Linda Eder!) and then comes back for an encore performance of “O Holy Night.” Who doesn’t love this Christmas classic? Linda’s haunting soprano descant gives her version such a heavenly quality that it is the perfect way to end the evening. I loved hearing songs that have not (yet??) been recorded along with fan favorites.

Meeting Linda in the lobby was lovely although her time was limited; lots of people to meet and CDs to sign. Linda, thank you again for another wonderful evening of music. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Earlier in the month of December, Linda was the guest for a private CD signing at the Maryland home of Jeff and Maureen Smith. One of the lucky people who attended has shared the experience with the readers of THE VOICE.

“Are you kidding me? You had better not be kidding me!” That’s what I said when my good friend called to ask if I’d like to attend a small, invitation-only holiday party and CD-signing where I could meet my favorite singer in the world, Linda Eder. He wasn’t kidding me. A mutual friend was invited but couldn’t attend so she asked that hosts if we could attend in her place. Thankfully, they said “yes.”

The night of the party I was nervous and excited to meet Linda. Adding to my anxiety was the fact that neither my friend nor I had ever met the hosts, Jeff and Maureen Smith. It would be the two of us in a home full of strangers. We didn’t know what to expect.
The minute we walked in the door of their beautiful home, my anxiety disappeared. We were greeted as if we were old friends, and Maureen and Jeff instantly put us at ease. I thought it was really nice that everyone who attended was asked to bring non-perishable food items that the Smiths would then give to a local food bank for the holidays. By the end of the evening, the food items filled a huge “Santa Sack.”

Linda calls a guest who was unable to attend at the last minute - what a great surprise for him!

Music from Linda’s new “Christmas Where You Are” CD was playing, but it was often hard to hear because there was so much joy and laughter in the house. That was just fine with me because it made for such a fun atmosphere, and I already had listened to Linda’s CD 3 times that day. LOL.

From the moment we walked in, my eyes were drawn to a glorious and very tall Christmas tree opposite the front door. And once we entered that room... there she was. Linda was standing in a circle with 4 or 5 men signing CDs and laughing as if they were old friends. (I found out later that she had just met them for the first time, and I think that shows how down to earth she is). Speaking of tall. It wasn’t just the tree that was tall. I knew Linda was tall but… boy is she tall! And beautiful.

Maureen must have noticed that I was dying to meet her and that we were also hesitant to interrupt. She came over and - like an expert in diplomacy - masterfully chatted with us while steadily moving us closer to Linda. Suddenly we realized that Maureen was off chatting to others and there we were, standing right in front of Linda Eder. Well done, Maureen and thank you!

I’ve read so much about how friendly and down to earth Linda is, and I can now tell you that it is all true. Even with all of the people and activity around her, she focused on our conversation and was completely engaged. She signed my CD and even personalized all 3 that my friend bought on the spot as gifts. We could have stood with her all night but knew that others were waiting to speak with her, so we moved on and spent the rest of the evening making new friends, eating way too much delicious food, and watching Linda bring smiles to so many faces.

Some of the more touching moments of the evening didn’t involve us directly, but were things that we witnessed:

A friend’s young son greets Linda - for the first time - with a HUGE hug. Photo by M. Smith.

There was a couple at the party that Linda obviously knew from before but from what I understand, she had never met their little boy before. When she went up to say hello to him in his father’s arms, the boy practically dove into Linda with his arms around her neck and gave her a big hug. Maureen took a picture of it and I believe it will be published with this article. She spent several minutes with him as he pointed out his favorite ornaments on the tree while in her arms. I think she would have held him all night if he didn’t want to get down and run around. I consider this further proof that kids and animals can sense good people.

There was another little boy there who was entranced by Linda.

The other really memorable moment was when Linda was told that a man who was flying in from Florida JUST to attend the party and meet her couldn’t make it at the last minute. So… what did Linda do? She called him and chatted and chatted. Lots of people stopped what they were doing to watch and listen. How cool is that?

We didn’t want to leave but it was getting late. We said our goodbyes (lots of hugging - Linda and her friends are big huggers), got in the car, let out a squeal of joy and began calling every one we knew.

Linda with new friends at the CD signing/Holiday Party - December 5, 2013



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(c)2013 Linda Eder