ORLEANS – In Cape Cod Wave’s opinion, the Christmas Cavalcade for the Homeless is the best musical event of the year on Cape Cod, and it happens this Sunday, starting at 7 PM at the Jailhouse Tavern. Suggested donation is $25.
As the brainchild of Chandler Travis, who loves the varied moods and nature of Christmas music, the Cavalcade started as a way to get his musician friends together to play Christmas songs.
“It seemed right that it shouldn’t be money for us for a change,” said Travis, the leader of the Chandler Travis Philharmonic and several other bands. “This is something incredibly selfish that I do, but I do it for someone else – or at least someone else gets the financial benefits.”
Last year, through donations at the door and online, as well as from sponsors, the Cavalcade raised about $9,000 for the NOAH Shelter for the Homeless. “Every year, we do a little better. We’re hoping to get over ten grand this year,” he said. (Please donate to the NOAH Shelter here.)
(See links to the last year’s story plus videos from last year’s Cavalcade at the bottom of this story)
This year is the 11th Cavalcade on Cape Cod. Travis also holds one every year in Boston. This year, he said, there will be about 20 acts, including The Ticks, who always perform a theatrical medley of sorts. “This year they are doing ‘A Christmas Carol’ and I am in that because I am Scrooge, naturally,” said Travis.
“The original impetus to do (the Cavalcade) is that I really do like Christmas music. It’s a riot the extent that Christmas has a whole genre of music to itself. Christmas is just such a manic depressive holiday. So the songs are harsh and angry to joyful to radiant and angelic. Emotionally it’s really so bipolar that it really allows all kinds of extremes of expression.”
There are no other holidays with such a depth of songs, he said. “There’s not too many Thanksgiving songs. Which is actually my favorite holiday.”
As the organizer of the event, Travis said he feels a bit like Jerry Lewis running a telethon. Not only does he raise funds for a worthy cause, he also plays one of the leads in a skit running throughout the show. He described the characters from the “Ding Donnelly and Danny Devereaux Show” as “old has-been TV show stars who hate each other but are getting back together for a Christmas special.”
The Christmas Cavalcade is more fun and compelling than what you can actually find on TV. And the music is better.
The performances of Travis and his musical friends, all gathered in one place to play holiday music, are enough of a gift. But for many who follow the various, mostly lower Cape bands that will play at the event, it is a chance to see people they haven’t seen since the last Cavalcade. A reunion of sorts. Just in time for the holidays.
“We get an amazing show out of it,” said Travis. “It’s a huge kick for me. It’s gotten to be kind of a special. The show itself is heaven.“
From last year’s Cavalcade:
“A Christmas Cavalcade of Musical Goodwill” with a slideshow.
Rikki Bates sings “Blue Christmas”
The Rip-It-Ups perform, “Walking In A Winter Wonderland”
Zoe Lewis sings, “Peking Duck For Christmas”
Playwright Gip Hoppe’s humorous version of The Christmas Story, much of which takes place at a Wal-Mart.
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— Brian Tarcy