It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, it almost was, being two days before Thanksgiving 2023. But to world-class violinist Lindsey Stirling, the holidays are something to be celebrated all year long, evidenced in her two yuletide albums Warmer in the Winter and her latest Snow Waltz.
If there is one person that can go off on a religious tangent at a holiday show without offending anybody, it’s Lindsey Stirling.
In today’s age of cancel culture, it’s easy to suppress one’s own beliefs in the pursuit of of pleasing everyone else. Lindsey Stirling, without condemning other religious sects, openlu admits in her holiday show that she is devout in her Christianity — a remark that usually results in ridicule or animosity these days. However, being a holiday show, we have to remember the ‘reason for the season’, so to speak, and if Christianity isn’t your cup of tea, then you’re celebrating Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Diwali, or perhaps something that resonates with you unique from anybody else. Whatever fills your heart with joy and laughter, warmth and reflection this winter season, that’s what Lindsey Stirling’s holiday tribute is all about.
But that doesn’t mean it’s not chock full of Christmas carols. Being a ballerina, Stirling jumps and twirls as she plays holiday classics, adorned in the most beautiful costumes of gold and silver, red and green. Her dancers are animated around her, almost out of a holiday special worthy of the Disney channel. It’s the happiest concert on earth and everyone’s invited!
Not only was the show nice and nostalgic, it was pure comedic relief.
In between songs, to give time for a costume change, Stirling’s stage is left to the musings of a bearded man in a Christmas tree outfit, grabbing the mic to sing off-key or using cue cards for the audience to signal distress during a sing-a-long of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. If it wasn’t her tree friend, it was Stirling herself that had the audience in stitches, talking about awkward water breaks for performers or her tiniest violin named Pickles. Speaking of tiny instruments, Stirling at one point called out her keyboardist and drummer to do a medley of holiday classics playing on miniature versions of their instruments to match hers. “These guys are professionals,” Stirling claimed, sitting cross-legged next to her friends on the floor like wee little kindergarteners. And she was right. I’ve never been so impressed in my life watching the three grown adults play on flimsy, shrunken instruments, both on-beat and on-key.
As the show progressed, Stirling shared a story on her belief in angels that had me in tears. When she needed it most, when she was doubting herself and her abilities unlike any other, a neighbor she barely knew gave her solace by saying the exact thing she needed to hear. She knew then that it was her late dad speaking through this neighbor, sending her a message of love and support from the grave. I, too, have experienced such a message — very recently — from a stranger that I knew came from the angels. Stirling’s heartfelt account led into the most gorgeous rendition of “O Holy Night” as a tribute to her faith and her father. Tears. Many, many tears from the sheer beauty of it all.
In essence, Lindsey Stirling embodies the best parts of the holidays — faith, family, frivolity, a dash of snow, and a lot of sparkle.
If you need a yuletide boost, this is the show for you! Happy holidays to you and yours!
Photography by Kristy Rose