Vail Christmas tradition continues with Pat Hamilton, Peter Vavra’s Christmas concert | VailDaily.com

Vail Christmas tradition continues with Pat Hamilton, Peter Vavra’s Christmas concert

Peter Vavra, left, and Pat Hamilton's beloved Christmas concert returns as an annual benefit for the Vail Valley Salvation Army.
Special to the Daily

If You Go …

What: “Through Angels’ Eyes,” Pat Hamilton and Peter Vavra’s 29th annual Christmas concert.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Where: Beaver Creek Chapel.

Cost: $25 minimum donation to Salvation Army.

More information: Get there early, there is no reserved seating. Hamilton and Vavra are joined by Galen Jacobs, Sally Peterson, Nancy Wright, Jeff Layman and Joe Bianchi.

When Pat Hamilton stood on stage beside Peter Vavra for their first Christmas concert, she was so nervous she wasn’t sure she could get through it.

“After that first one, the Salvation Army asked if we could do it again,” Hamilton said.

They did, that year and every year since. Thursday is their 29th annual Christmas concert. Get there early; there is no reserved seating.

The annual concert has raised more than a half million dollars for the Vail Valley Salvation Army.

This year’s lineup is Sally Peterson (vocals), Galen Jacobs (vocals), Nancy Wright (flute), Jeff Layman (percussion), Joe Bianchi (bass), Vavra and Hamilton.

They do it because it’s fun.

“It’s a lot of rehearsals, but I say when we begin the concert, ‘Let’s have fun,’ and we do,” Vavra said.

It’s like a group of old friends, which it is.

“You walk back into the room and pick it up with ‘Now, as I was saying,’” Hamilton said.

Hits you in the heart

Hamilton and Vavra’s annual Christmas concert hits you where Christmas lives — in your heart.

“It inspired me to write more Christmas songs,” Hamilton said.

They change the performance every year, which can be the toughest part of the show.

“Everyone always loves the songs. It’s difficult to drop some songs, but we want to give people something new,” Hamilton said.

Besides the new songs, there will also be a surprise guest performer. She politely declined to reveal who the surprise might be … it would ruin the surprise.

Their Christmas gift

The concert began almost three decades ago as a community gift to spotlight the first Christmas album Vavra and Hamilton produced, “Christmas in Vail.” That album included Hamilton’s first original holiday song, “The Christmas Infant.”

They’ve since added two more albums, “You Are My Christmas,” featuring many more Hamilton original compositions, and their latest, “Through Angels’ Eyes,” featuring an original track of the same name.

All the CDs will be on sale at the Beaver Creek Chapel before and after the concert.

“It’s always a beautiful evening where you can sit quietly and absorb and reflect on the meaning of the season. The chapel is beautifully decorated with greenery and poinsettias, with subdued lighting,” Tsu Wolin-Brown, of the Vail Valley Salvation Army, said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.