Tue 12/11-Thu 12/13 @ 7:30PM
For the past two decades, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Ryan Humbert has been an energy force in the Akron/Canton music scene, releasing records, producing and encouraging other artists and organizing special shows, such as his annual Holiday Extravaganzas at the Akron Civic Theatre, now in their 10th year.
Each year, he tries to make the show, a benefit for Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s Muffins for Mammograms program, a little bit different. This year, it will feature Humbert, his long-time onstage vocal counterpart Emily Bates and a 12-piece big band. They’re perform big band, jazz and pop classics (including many holiday tunes) in swingin’ style, evoking the spirit of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra or Michael Buble, along with new versions of some of Humbert’s own tunes. There will be live auctions with guest auctioneers each night too to raise money for the cause which, Humbert says, was inspired by Akron General helping his mother in her battle with breast cancer four years ago. Sadly, however, his mother passed away suddenly less than a month ago.
“My initial reaction was to cancel all of my upcoming performances in December,” he says. “I couldn’t even think about performing a whole show on my own in the initial days that followed her death. Would I be able to make it through each show with her loss weighing heavy on my soul? After all, she likely would have been in the audience at every one of them. After a lot of thought, I’ve decided that she would want me to go through with all of them. Sure — it may be a little tough, but I’m tougher. While the holiday shows this year will definitely be bittersweet for me, I’m going to do my best to honor my mother by helping others in the community.”
Each of the three shows will feature the intimate cabaret set-up with just 150 seats. General admission tickets are $20. They’ll also be collecting new and gently used coats for Cleveland’s Metanoia Project, a homeless shelter.