The Northern Westchester Examiner

Christmas Show Rooted in Singer’s Admiration for The Carpenters

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Canadian singer Michelle Berting Brett, backed by a seven-piece band, will perform a holiday tribute show to The Carpenters this Sunday at The Paramount in Peekskill.

Get in the holiday spirit at The Paramount in Peekskill this Sunday afternoon for a one-of-a-kind Christmas celebration.

Singer Michelle Berting Brett and her seven-piece Nashville band, led by musical director Harry Sharpe, will bring The Carpenters’ holiday classics and iconic hits to life in “Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters’ Christmas.”

“We try to honor what Karen and Richard (Carpenter) created,” Brett said of the brother-sister duo that had a succession of megahits in the early to mid-1970s. “I never get tired of singing these songs. It’s just a joy.”

Growing up in Canada, Brett listened to legends Donna Summer, Barbra Streisand and Karen Carpenter on her transistor radio hoping one day she could perform on stage. After studying opera and musical theater, Brett put together her own cabaret show in Toronto where she was told she shared a distinct similarity to Karen Carpenter.

“As I was singing the material, people started to tell me I sounded like Karen Carpenter,” Brett said. “Inevitably they would ask if I would sing her songs and I added it to my set. People would tell me how much a particular song meant to them and it was always such an emotional connection to the music.”

While working on a cruise ship in the early 1990s, Brett toyed with the idea of a one-woman show based on The Carpenters’ music. It wasn’t until she met her producer and husband, Mark Brett, years later and sang him “Merry Christmas, Darling” that her idea became reality.

In 2009, Brett performed her very first tribute show in a small club in Toronto to critical acclaim, and four years later kicked off the “We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered” tour in the United States.

“It’s been a wonderful adventure,” she said. “I’ve always loved The Carpenters and it’s always been a dream of mine to do this. As an artist you want to touch people on an emotional level.”

With the festive show featured in venues throughout the country, Brett said her performance will put audiences in the holiday spirit with a decorative production and seasonal tunes that never go out of style. The two-hour show will include holiday classics such as, “Sleigh Ride,” “The Christmas Song,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Do You Hear What I Hear,” “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “Merry Christmas, Darling” and many others.

“It’s a great way to spend a night out with the family,” Brett said.

The show’s holiday music may be inspired by The Carpenters’ “Christmas Portrait” and “An Old-Fashioned Christmas” albums, but Brett said she will also perform some of their greatest hits, including “Close to You” and “We’ve Only Just Begun.”

While her Christmas show and tribute tour has had a dedicated following over the last five years, Brett is deeply appreciative that her passion for singing and admiration for Karen Carpenter has brought The Carpenters’ beautiful music to audiences.

“It’s amazing that this little tiny idea that I had based on a love for a beautiful singer has turned into this,” Brett said. “It’s been such a great gift.”

“Merry Christmas Darling: Carpenters’ Christmas” will begin at 3 p.m. Tickets are $29, $39 and $49. For tickets and more information, visit The Paramount is located at 1008 Brown St. in Peekskill.


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