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Santa plays Chapman Stick at Sedona Hub

Michael Kollwitz

Michael Kollwitz

Originally Published: November 4, 2019 9:34 a.m.

If You Go ...

• What: Santa Plays The Stick CD Release Concert

• When: Friday, Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m.

• Where: Sedona Posse Grounds Hub, 525 Posse Ground Road, Sedona

• How Much: Free

• More Info: 928-250-9193; MichaelKollwitz.com

From 7-8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, at the Sedona Hub in Posse Grounds Park, Billboard artist Michael Kollwitz will perform live to celebrate the worldwide release of his new Christmas CD, “Santa plays the stick.”

Sedona Hub in Posse Grounds Park is located at 525-B Posse Grounds Road. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

“Unbeknownst to most, Santa Claus himself is a Chapman Stick player,” Kollwitz says, “He gets a lot of practice in the summer months at the North Pole when he’s not keeping the elves busy and the workshop tidy. I was delighted to give him lessons and work with Santa on these recordings. Considering his overwhelming winter workload- he’s such a musical perfectionist.”

The new instrumental Christmas CD includes 15 tracks, all performed by Santa Claus himself, including four original holiday compositions by Kollwitz.

Kollwitz is one of the original pioneer players of a little-known contemporary American stringed instrument known as The Chapman Stick. Capable of astounding expressiveness and simultaneous multi-part arrangements, The Stick combines elements of guitar, bass, keyboards, and percussion, all into a single instrument.

The Stick is played with both hands-more like a piano than a guitar. One of inventor Emmett Chapman’s first students, Kollwitz, is one of the instrument’s most influential recording artists. ‘Santa plays the stick’ is his 26th independent release.

Known primarily for composing peaceful instrumental music in Sedona on ‘The Stick, Kollwitz’s trilogy of albums, ‘Serenity I, II & III,’ have made the Billboard Top Ten charts and received significant airplay around the world.

His music has received numerous international awards and nominations.

It can be heard frequently on the Spa channels of international airlines and in hundreds of hospitals across the U.S. on the CARE Channel.

His album ‘Serenity II’ also garnered Grammy nomination consideration. Once seeing Kollwitz perform at an event on Maui, Carlos Santana was so impressed by his performance that he described Kollwitz’s music as “a gift of the heart.”

One of the instrument’s first recording artists, Kollwitz, shares humorous stories and anecdotes from his colorful musical career, which keeps audiences laughing between songs.

For more than 40 years, he has found himself in the most unusual musical situations, mostly thanks to the uniqueness of the instrument. He jokingly refers to The Stick as “the best musical instrument you’ve never heard of.”

Music critics and reviewers have fallen in love with the unique sound of ‘The Stick’ on Kollwitz’s previous ‘Serenity’ albums.

Reviewer Bill Binkelman of Music Retailing Insight magazine said, “If you’ve never heard the magical musical strains of the Chapman Stick, you’re in for a treat.

Melodic in a somewhat unconventional way, the Chapman Stick is played fingerstyle, like a guitar, but it has a particularly special sonic characteristic that invites introspection without succumbing to non-musical posturing.

Difficult to describe in words, but oh so easy to enjoy, that is the beauty of the Chapman Stick in the right person’s hands, as it is here. Kollwitz is a maestro.”

You may feel the same way at this free concert by an unconventional local talent who is now also known for teaching Santa Claus how to play the Chapman Stick.

Frequently commuting between Sedona and the North Pole to give Santa lessons was worth it, as Kollwitz quips it was “a labor of love.”

Autographed copies of ‘Santa Plays The Stick,’ and many of his other releases will be available at the concert.

The Hub is a small intimate venue with spectacular red rock views, so come early for the best seating.