Jingle all the way to this concert.
Then be prepared to laugh and sing to that thing with the big strings — the harp.
Bronn Journey performs all year, but this is the season of the harp.
“I am certainly not a trendy guy, nor is the harp a relevant instrument in today’s pop culture,” he said. “But at Christmastime? The harp speaks loudly in the mainstream.”
His ensemble will do two shows at the Everett Performing Arts Center on Dec. 20.
This will be the 36th year for the holiday concert that generations of families have made a tradition.
“The concerts are always different, but they’re always the same,” Journey said. “They are always full of spontaneity, but it’s still me. People in the audience have grown up with me.”
He is known for engaging his audience with jokes and casual banter.
“Everybody can relate to humor, but not everybody can relate to a harp,” he said. “We don’t advertise it as a comedy show.”
It will be his wife Katherine’s final year of singing at the holiday concert.
“She wants to leave while she’s at the top of her game,” he said. “But it’s not as though she is going to disappear from our concerts. She plays the piano. She’s also playing the harp. So she is still going to be involved.”
Journey said the program features many familiar songs.
“In addition to Christmas songs, I’ll play ‘Malaguena,’ which is a traditional piece for the guitar. Katherine will sing a classical piece. We are even going to play a song from Creedence Clearwater to let people know that I’m a normal guy; I just happen to play the harp,” he said.
“I do not play music composed for the harp because no one knows the repertoire except a harp player. If we depended on harpists to buy tickets, we’d sell 25. That’s about how many people come to harp concerts.”
Robert Puff, the show’s arranger, has played clarinet, flute and recorder for more than 15 years with the group. Diane Tremaine will play cello. New this year is Kaitlyn Rappuhn on flute.
This will be Ryan Fox’s third year on percussion, mostly the vibraphone and marimba. Fox is in a master’s program at San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
“I like to feature young talent because people gave me a chance, and I like to give other people a chance,” Journey said.
He has a degree in harp performance from the University of Washington. His wife has a master’s degree in vocal performance and a teaching degree with piano as her primary instrument.
The show will fill your heart and your stomach.
At intermission, there are brownies — called “Bronn-ies” for the occasion — served with a donation to Adopt-A-Family in Monroe.
Soup is included in the price of admission. “Everyone who comes gets a free cup of clam chowder,” Journey said. Not at the show, but in the form of a coupon to Andy’s Fish House in Snohomish, of which the couple are part owners.
A tradition during this Christmas concert is that people bring jingle bells, then go on stage to shake their bells for exactly the song you’d imagine.
Don’t have any bells?
It’s OK to use a jingle bell app or car keys.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go
The Bronn and Katherine Journey Christmas Concert is at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Everett Performing Arts Center, 2710 Wetmore Ave. Call the EPAC ticket office at 425-257-8600. Order tickets online at www.villagetheatre.org/epac.php.
The Journeys are also performing at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at McIntyre Hall, Skagit Valley College, Mount Vernon. More at https://ticketing.mcintyrehall.org/TheatreManager/1/online?performance=1604.