Kim & Reggie Harris, and Magpie Sing Solstice! Saturday at the Eighth Step (Proctors GE Theatre)
Sing Solstice! returns to the Eighth Step at Proctors GE Theatre Saturday—one of the longest-running folk-style holiday concerts hereabouts, along with Mountain Snow and Mistletoe and its successor revue by the McKrells.
Sing Solstice! endures by blending together the well-matched voices of the same four singers who first celebrated the season in 1996 in the Eighth Step’s former home in Albany’s First Presbyterian Church at the edge of Albany’s Washington Park. Sing Solstice! features two duos: Kim & Reggie Harris and Magpie (Terry Leonino and Greg Artzner).
The prolific and durable duo Kim & Reggie Harris have been Eighth Step favorites for decades, weaving Gospel, blues and folk traditions into a quilt of sound and spirit. The Philadelphia natives developed their musical interests in the city’s churches and schools, making music to teach and to inspire as well as to charm and entertain. Their many albums include several joint projects with Magpie, many telling hard truths about history,
Leonino and Artzner were both in Kent, Ohio when Ohio National Guard troops fired on student demonstrators on the Kent State campus in May 1970; Leonino was there at the shootings. A duo since 1973, they protested the shootings and paid tribute to Professor Glenn Frank as a mentor in activism with “You Carried Us.” Their dozen-plus albums continue their combined musical and advocacy work, exploring history through harmony.
Sing Solstice!, however, is anything but somber. It celebrates the enduring strengths of renewal and kinship; a joy in all seasons but especially cherished in wintertimes of short, snowy days and long, cold nights.
The Pokingbrook Morris Dancers – another veteran ensemble – also perform Saturday, opening Sing Solstice! in costumes and steps of England’s Cotswold region. Proctors GE Theatre is at 432 State St., Schenectady. Show time is 7:30 p.m., doors 7. $26 advance, $28 at the door; $45 gold circle (two front rows, center). www.8thstep.org 518-346-6204. Free parking in the Broadway garage.