As the gay high holiday of Halloween ends, a new season begins.
Christmas, for many gays and lesbians, marks the beginning of a time of renewal, peace and trimming the gay hell out of a mantle. People get ourselves excited by drinking holiday-themed cocktails, eating their weight in Williams and Sonoma Peppermint Bark and listening to Mariah Carey sing, "All I Want for Christmas is You," among other Christmas favorites.
However, this November marks the release of David Edelfelt's holiday album Love is Born at Christmas, with new holiday favorites to keep people company while decking their halls.
Edelfelt was born into upstate New York's version of the Von Trapp family. His father played his children to sleep with his piano and his mother was a singer in a barbershop quartet. It is not a surprise to learn that Edelfelt followed in the musical footsteps of his talented family and began playing his church's organ at 10 and singing at 15. He continued the tradition of working within the church and currently is the choirmaster for the First Presbyterian Church of Libertyville, Ill..
Edelfelt has been a fixture in the Chicago music scene for years, providing vocal lessons to more than 30 students and appearing on stage at Ravinia and Carnegie Hall as well as cabarets all across Europe.
Love is Born at Christmas is Edelfelt's debut album. "This album was born of necessity," Edelfelt told Windy City Times. "My parents came in 2011 for what was to be a brief visit at Christmas. My father became ill on Christmas Eve and passed away during the visit. My mother lived with my partner and me. In 2012, I did not want Christmas to come."
Edelfelt used the production of his debut album as a catharsis for the real pain he experienced that first Christmas following the passing of his father. "This album was put together for both those people who love Christmas as well as for those who struggle during the holidays. It was made for those people in mind," said Edelfelt.
Love is Born at Christmas has tracks, new and old, familiar and unfamiliar. There are medleys of secular classics and a number of sacred pieces. When asked which track was his favorite, Edelfelt admitted that it was difficult picking only one: "It's hard to choose just one, but if I had to, I would pick 'Mary, Did You Know?' The song was originally written in the '80s. I would compare it to Mel Torme's 'A Christmas Song' as when you hear it, you know that it will be lasting. It's that kind of song."
Edelfelt selected songs that he loved as well as songs that were in bass and baritone ranges. "I need to have songs that were true to me as a singer," he said. He does not try and emulate any particular artist but has favorites that he has with him in mind when he performs. "I like artists who don't show off when they perform. I like artists who just sing," he added. "I have my favorites: Sinatra, Bennett, Torme, Perry Como, Andy Williams and Bing Crosby. These were singers who learned to love the art in themselves and not themselves in the art." Edelfelt is true to that philosophy of modesty and respect for art. "I ask others if they are in music for the sake of music or for their own ego," he added.
The album, although currently available, will have its official launch Thanksgiving weekend beginning Nov. 29, with three special performances of his holiday show, "It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year," at Davenport's Piano Bar, 1383 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Show times are 8 p.m. ( except Sunday's Dec. 1 show at 7 p.m. ); there is an $18 cover charge and two-drink minimum. Call 773-278-1830 or visit www.DavenportsPianoBar.com .
Edelfelt will also perform Dec. 9 at Mercury Theater and Dec. 10 at Davenport's. For more information on David Edelfelt and his career, visit www.DavidEdelfelt.com .