Published Wednesday, December 2, 2009, 4:06 PM
Am I the only one sick and tired of analysts predicting how dismal this Christmas is going to be before any of us have even had the chance to spend a penny on Black Friday?
Really, we have to stop with the gloom and doom, people. It’s the holidays and if you’re reading this, you survived!
To get us all in the holiday spirit, entertainer Andy Cooney will headline “The Magic of Christmas” at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday, December 8.
“They’re going to get all aspects of Christmas, the real meaning, the carols, the holly, the ivy and the spiritual songs,” says Cooney during a recent chat. “They are going to walk out of there feeling good. It’s a family show.”
Cooney has come a long way from touring with Paddy Noonan in his teens to headlining Carnegie Hall, and he will be sharing the glory with his family and friends.
Cooney will also present a special guest, Grammy Award winning country singer Crystal Gayle. Famous for her signature song “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” Gayle has decades of hits behind her.
Gayle and Cooney will perform the duet they recorded, “You Were Never Too Far From My Mind,” from Cooney’s previous CD, 'It’ll Be Me.'
He will also be joined by Eileen Ivers, the feisty fiddler from Riverdance who went on to make amazing music with her band Immigrant Soul.
The most special guest of all is Andy’s 13-year-old son Ryan Cooney, who made his singing debut at Carnegie Hall last Christmas and brought the house down with his rendition of “Little Drummer Boy.”
“When he came out I was more nervous than he was,” says Cooney when asked to recall his reaction to Ryan’s debut. “He was only 11 and didn’t know that Carnegie Hall was a big deal. He went out there and knocked it out of the park.
“The producer was so impressed that she said not only is he coming back next year, he is getting on the bill with the other stars’ names. As a parent it was an amazing experience. I am so proud of him and I can’t wait to do this again with him!”
Cooney has just released a Christmas CD called 'The Magic of Christmas,' recorded with Ireland’s National Concert Orchestra.
“Brian Byrne arranged these classics and created something amazing,” gushes Cooney. “He is in his mid thirties and is already going places. He was from Navan originally is now living in Los Angeles working on a lot of films. He is writing the score for the new Sex and the City movie.
“I have recorded in Nashville and New York but I never did a symphony orchestra, not only in Ireland. They play every day for the RTE television shows, so they are a working band. It was really a dream of mine.”
The show at Carnegie Hall will feature many of the traditional and popular songs from this album including “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Oh Holy Night,” “Silver Bells,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and more.
The orchestra is conducted by Gearoid Grant, who has been the conductor of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland since it was formed in 1980. The choir for the Carnegie Hall show also includes the Festival Youth Chorus, directed by Eily O’Grady Patterson, and is comprised of children who hail from the New York area. In addition, the Fordham University Choir, directed by Robert Minotti, will lend their voices.
Cooney has miles to go before the show as he embarks on a concert tour that will pack 19 shows into December.
“I know everyone is down about the economy. Those who have money are holding onto it. At the same time, this show is a cheap outlet for people,” he says.
“You can buy a CD at the show for $15 and come to Carnegie for a price range of $35-85. We were careful to have a price point that everyone can afford.”
Live a little. See the show and like the rest of us, worry about how to pay for it come January. It’s the American way!
“The Magic of Christmas” is at Carnegie Hall on December 8, at 8 p.m. For tickets call 212 247-7800 or visit www.carnegiehall.org.