‘Carols by Candlelight’ returning Dec. 7 and 8
By Alexa Mauzy-Lewis
For its 23rd year, the cherished Christmas family entertainment event, Carols by Candlelight, is back at 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8 in the concert hall of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. All funds raised are donated to Rady Children’s Hospital.
Created by Poway resident Steve Vaus, aka Buck Howdy, and Wayne Nelson in 1990, the event has branched from a small street concert to a spectacular Christmas tradition.
“It’s a gift of Christmas music for the community,” Vaus said. “It’s also a gift of hope to kids in pretty desperate circumstances.”
The line-up this year includes some noted names including legendary performers B.J. Thomas and Collin Raye, as well as local icons such as Eve Selis, Mary James, and of course, 2010 Grammy-winner Buck Howdy himself.
Artists will be singing Christmas carols, along with their biggest hits with the goal of making a life changing-impact for children in need.
“It’s been a challenging year with the economy and finding sponsors, but when that curtain goes up it’s always magical,” Vaus said.
Originally a free concert at Horton Plaza where money was raised by selling candles, Carols by Candlelight has grown to a two-night production at its current venue that seats around 1,500 people.
The most memorable aspect of the night for many occurs after the performance when the audience and the artists squeeze into an outside courtyard and sing “Silent Night’ with candles in hand.
“It’s a very moving experience,” Vaus said. “People walk away from that every year saying ‘Now I am in the Christmas spirit.’”
As an extra charity, Carols by Candlelight also offers a chance to purchase tickets as a gift for active duty military families, so that they can attend for free.
Ticket prices range from $25-$85, and can be bought at the door or on the Carols by Candlelight website, www.carolsbycandlelight.com.
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