The Christmas Cavalcade For The Homeless As Seasonal Therapy

Written by Brian Tarcy

BREWSTER – Chandler Travis, who throws the best Cape Cod Christmas music party of the year, the Christmas Cavalcade For The Homeless, understands how most people feel about Christmas.

“It’s so endearing to watch people in the mall with these looks in their eyes that say they’d rather be dead,” said Travis. “It’s a look of, please kill me now. But they schlep their asses to the store so they can somehow make somebody they love happy. And it’s an endearing effort.”


Chandler Travis

It is this duality – the “bipolar nature of the holiday,” as he calls it, that draws him to the music of the Christmas and to continue put on the Cavalcade, now in its 13th year celebrating local musicians playing some traditional Christmas songs, as well as originals written right on Cape Cod.

The 2016 concert, with several bands all in one place, is the closest thing to Woodstock on Cape Cod. It raises money for the Housing Assistance Corporation and their work with homeless individuals and families. It is at the Ocean Edge in Brewster. It starts at 7:30 PM, and there is a suggested donation of $25 at the door.

This is the first Cavalcade at Ocean Edge. In previous years, it had been at the Old Jailhouse Tavern in Orleans, which is now the Hog Island Brewery.

The redesign of the old venue under the new name put the bar and the listening room in the same spot, which would take away from the Cavalcade, Travis explained. Folks in the bar “tend to get a little loud,” he said.

He said he has been looking around for months for a new venue and even considered, based on a suggestion from someone, the Orleans Toyota dealership. But that was logistically difficult, he said. “We would have had to bring a stage in there.”

Bass player John Clark and saxophone player Berke McKelvie of the Chandler Travis Philharmonic.

Bass player John Clark and saxophone player Berke McKelvie of the Chandler Travis Philharmonic.

So this year it is at Ocean Edge. “It’s a little ritzy for us,” said Travis. “But having it there makes it a little more special.”

While many of the familiar acts will be there this year, including Travis’ band, The Chandler Travis Philharmonic, he said he is happy to have added some “rookies.”

The rest of the lineup, as of Friday, was the Ticks, Fred Fried, the Spampinato Brothers, the Catbirds, Tripping Lily, Toast & Jam, Christine Ernst, the Rip-It-Ups, Monica Rizzio, Cla Da Bossa Nova, Suede, Crabgrass, David Roth, Trevor the Juggler, the Catie Flynn Band, Diana Anderson and the Daughters of Moonlight Belly Dance Troupe, Sensible Shoes, Jay Cournoyer, Broadway Central, Kristin Knowles, Jake Bautista, the Ding Donnelly and Danny Devereaux Show, and the Athol Thingerth. “There’s still some things I’m working on,” he said.

All in one place. And for a good cause.

The idea is that the Cavalcade is a Christmas concert hosted by two old vaudeville partners who hate each other but are getting back together for a Christmas show. Ding Donnelly and Danny Devereaux then introduce each band.

Every band plays Christmas music, one or two songs each.

Travis said he is a “Christmas music glutton” but that requires “culling through the 95 percent of it that is not just awful, but incredibly awful. The bad stuff is so bad, and such a large percentage of it is bad. But the 5 percent that is great is really great.”

It is all part of the duality of the holiday, he said, and the overwhelming nature of how it and its music take over an entire month.

“I love it and hate it, but it’s just more extreme. It’s like a bludgeon to the head. It’s really relentless, and it drains the life out of every possible soul,” said Travis.

“But with that,” he said, “you get these beatific moments that you don’t get with any other holiday.”

Such as the Christmas Cavalcade for the Homeless.

Here are our previous stories and VIDEOS from past years of the Christmas Cavalcade.

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About the author

Brian Tarcy

Brian Tarcy is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. He is a longtime journalist who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston magazine, the Cape Cod Times and several other publications. He is the author of "YOU CAN'T SELL RIGHT FIELD; A Cape Cod Novel." He is also the author or co-author of more than a dozen mostly non-fiction books, including books with celebrity athletes Cam Neely, Tom Glavine and Joe Theisman. His previous book was, "ALMOST: 12 Electric Months Chasing A Silicon Valley Dream" with Hap Klopp,who created the iconic brand, The North Face.
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Brian is a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan with a long-running NFL predictions/political satire column connecting weekly world events to the fate of his favorite team, now at

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