Victorian Christmas Music Performance

by The Editors on November 28, 2007

Doan Main

On December 15, 2007 at 7 PM the Museum of Making Music, is presenting a “festive seasonal program” by John Doan, one of the few masters of the rare twenty-stroing harp guitar. In the performance Doan “re-enacts what it might have been like to celebgrate Christmas a century ago.” It’s called A Victorian Christmas and tickets are $20 ($15 for members) Click here to purchase tickets online.

John explores how the Victorians invented many Christmas traditions we remember and quite a few we have forgotten. Harp guitar, tremblelin, classical banjo and ukelin are but a few of the authentic instruments featured in the performance. They were once popular in American homes and parlors, on vaudeville stages and in mandolin orchestras. In addition to performing on each instrument, Doan explains their history in an entertaining and often zany fashion.

Fans of “zany” Christmas music shows, rejoice.


CARLSBAD, CA—A Victorian Christmas has become John Doan’s holiday tradition for over twenty years. This festive seasonal program is a live version of the Emmy-nominated Public Broadcasting television special which re-enacts what it might have been like to celebrate Christmas a century ago.

At 7 PM on Saturday, December 15 at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad, John explores how the Victorians invented many Christmas traditions we remember and quite a few we have forgotten. Harp guitar, tremblelin, classical banjo and ukelin are but a few of the authentic instruments featured in the performance. They were once popular in American homes and parlors, on vaudeville stages and in mandolin orchestras. In addition to performing on each instrument, Doan explains their history in an entertaining and often zany fashion; shows slides of old catalogues and archival photographs from his personal collection; and leads the audience in singing American carols with nineteenth century accompaniment. During the performance, John includes several of his own arrangements and medleys of favorite carols performed on dozens of Americana instruments. At the end of the concert, everyone is invited to come up for a closer look at the instruments themselves.

Tickets to this event are $20; $15 for Museum members. Contact Jillian Jepsen at (760) 438-5996, extension 212 for tickets and reservations or purchase tickets online.

About John Doan

John Doan, one of the few masters of the rare twenty-string harp guitar, has performed with a diverse range of artists including pop star Donovan, folk legend Burl Ives, jazz ace Larry Carlton, as a member of the New Christy Minstrels with Randy Sparks, among others and his virtuoso playing and arranging has attracted praise from no less a guitar luminary than Chet Atkins. He recently contributed a chapter to “Between the Strings – the Secret Lives of Guitars” a veritable compendium of the world’s greatest guitarists with introduction by B.B. King.

He has appeared in numerous publications including the Washington Post and Billboard Magazine as well as staring in two much-loved television specials produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting: “A Christmas to Remember With John Doan” (seen on PBS) and his Emmy nominated “A Victorian Christmas With John Doan.” His latest recordings on Hearts O’ Space Records have been nominated for “Best Celtic Album of the Year” with Eire – Isle of the Saints winning that title. His music has also been featured on numerous prime-time television and movie productions including Walt Disney, among others. His lastest video project is a 90 minute documentary that he wrote and starred in titled “In Search of the Harp Guitar.”

John recently hosted an International Harp Guitar Festival at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon where he is an Associate Professor of Music. He lives near Salem with his wife Deirdra atop of an extinct volcano overlooking the Willamette Valley.

For more information, please call (760) 438-5996, ext. 212 or visit www.museumofmakingmusic.org. The Museum of Making Music is located at 5790 Armada Drive in Carlsbad.

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