Benefit concert highlights Yule tunes on CD

By: Gus Thomson Journal Staff Writer
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When Claytoven Richardson looks back on 30 years as one of the recording industry’s top session vocalists and thinks of Christmas, he thinks of Michael Bolton dressed as Santa Claus. Richardson will join a lineup of award-winning composers, lyricists, musicians, studio artists and publishers on Friday at the State Theater for a CD release concert of “It’s Christmas Time.” It’s a benefit for theater owner Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center that – given the Yuletide theme – comes from the heart and promises to bring out the best in performers, Richardson said Monday. Richardson’s voice can be heard backing Celine Dion on the multi-Grammy Award-winning “My Heart Will Go On,” as well as on albums featuring Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Kenny G. A Bolton session around Christmas left an indelible visual image of the normally reserved singer strolling into the control room in full Santa outfit, including beard, Richardson recalled. “At Christmas, people go that extra mile,” the Fairfield resident said. “There’s more feeling at this time of year.” Auburn-based musician and producer Erik Chun of Creative Music Services gathered together musicians he’s worked with for “It’s Christmas Time 2009,” following his first effort, last year’s Christmas CD single. On Friday, Richardson and Chun will be joined by a roster that includes Andrea President, Kathie Rollins, Roberta Donnay, Mira Veda, Larry Batiste and others who contributed to the full-length CD. The talent level of performers coming in from Los Angeles and San Francisco as well as closer to Auburn for the concert is high. Donnay, for instance, wrote “One World,” which was adopted for the United Nations’ 50th anniversary and is now performed as a peace anthem throughout the world. She’s been on tour recently with Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. APPAC’s Janis Wykoff said the Christmas concert is a first for the newly re-opened State Theater. “It would be nice to do a Christmas concert like this every year,” Wykoff said. Richardson, whose vocals highlight the CD’s title track, said that he would feel at home being part of a tradition like that. Albums will be available autographed by the writers and artists. The two-hour concert will end with holiday favorites in an old-fashioned singalong featuring all performers. The CDs are also being distributed for sale by shop Auburn first organizers and will be available in businesses throughout the Auburn area during the Christmas season to benefit local non-profits. --------------------------------- “It’s Christmas Time” CD release state theater benefit concert When: 7:30 p.m. Friday Tickets: $20 for the evening, or a package of both CD and show for $25. $10 for 13 and under. Where: 985 Lincoln Way, Auburn