EXPERIENCE THE COLORS OF CHRISTMAS with Peabo Bryson, CeCe Winans, Melissa Manchester, & Ruben Studdard, with the San Francisco Symphony

by Michael P. Coleman, Associate Editor

The Colors of Christmas has become an annual tradition for many, and this year’s event is an absolute must-see.  As always, the legendary Peabo Bryson will anchor the festivities December 16 - 18 at Davies Hall in San Francisco, and this year he’ll be joined by Grammy winners CeCe Winans and Melissa Manchester, as well as American Idol winner Ruben Studdard, in a warm performance of holiday favorites.

It’s hard to imagine four artists of this caliper sharing the same stage.  Bryson, a two time Grammy winner himself, says it’s the premier Christmas show.

“The very first Colors of Christmas show was performed in San Francisco,” Bryson exclusively told The Hub.  “It was launched as a benefit for UNICEF, and it was huge!  It was received so well that it was tailored for a broader audience.  I’ve done every single one of them.  It really is an incredible show.  This year’s artists have great voices, and they can really get the job done.”

Bryson found it hard to describe the show for someone who’s not yet seen it.

“You can outline its components, its intent, I could share our playlist, you could give a visual of what it looks like, and it still wouldn’t do it justice,” Bryson said.  “It’s the best Christmas program there is, which is why it’s lasted for twenty-five years.  A quarter of a century is a long time to do anything!”

Bryson spoke very highly of his 2013 Colors Of Christmas colleagues, two of which (Winans and Studdard) he’ll be working with for the first time.  He and Manchester are long time friends and colleagues.

“Melissa’s a songsmith, and I’ve always admired what she did,” Bryson said of Manchester.  “She was in Atlanta recording back in the 80s, and after a take of a song, she said she wanted to sing it with me.  The recording engineer gave me a call at home, and I jumped at the chance to record with her.”

Manchester was also one of the guest artists on the inaugural Colors Of Christmas performance.

“It’s kind of like an old-fashioned variety show,” Manchester exclusively told The Hub, “with all of us singing together, doing various duets, and having a few solo songs thrown in.  It’s a wonderful show, for many reasons...to share the stage with such incredible colleagues.”

Manchester added that the audience is a part of the show, so to speak.  “It’s wonderful to perform for an audience that’s been given permission, because of the show, to wear their most glittery holiday garb,” Manchester laughs.  “And people come with their whole families...it’s really beautiful.”

Bryson emphasized that the chemistry between Colors Of Christmas artists is unparalleled.  “It’s camaraderie on a whole different level -- there’s no competition between us,” Bryson said. “You’ve never seen anything like this.  It truly is a fellowship.  People in San Francisco for the last 25 years have planned their holidays, their vacations around this show.  People have met at this show and become lifelong friends.  This show is really quite spectacular.  And there’s not a better symphony to work with that the San Francisco Symphony.”

“If you come to see Colors Of Christmas,” Bryson adds.  “You’ll leave there inspired to commit a random act of kindness.  This show is not to be missed.”

Tickets for The Colors Of Christmas are available at www.sfsymphony.org or 415-864-6000.


Look for The Hub’s EXCLUSIVE profiles on Peabo Bryson and Melissa Manchester, coming soon at www.sacculturalhub.com.

Email Michael P. Coleman at mikelsmindseye@me.com or follow him on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP