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Tidings of comfort and joy

Williamson returns for seventh FD Christmas concert

December 16, 2011
By BARBARA WALLACE HUGHES, Messenger managing editor , Messenger News

Jennie Williamson wants her concerts to provide an escape from the craziness of the holiday season.

Williamson, who will be performing at 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Paul Lutheran Church, said she wants her performances to provide "a place where somebody can come and find a part of Christmas they are missing."

"This is the seventh year we've come back and done this," said her husband, Brian Williamson, president of AriSon Records, Nashville, Tenn., and a Fort Dodge native.

He said he always enjoys coming back.

"It's a chance to get refreshed and see the people I grew up with," Brian Williamson said.

While the Williamsons are visiting family in Fort Dodge, they always find time for Jennie Williamson to bring her singing skills to his hometown.

Fact Box

If you go:

Who: AriSon Records artist Jennie Williamson

What: Christmas concert

When: 7 p.m. Wednesday

Where: St. Paul Lutheran Church, 400 S. 13th St.

Cost: Freewill offering will be accepted

"The concert just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year," Brian Williamson said. "People come from an hour, an hour and a half a way; it's not just people who go to church (at St. Paul). People come from throughout the community and middle Iowa."

People come, Jennie Williamson said, because it's a fun, family-oriented event.

"We make it a fun event for everyone. I teach children, I have children. I love kids," she said.

Her goal, Jennie Williamson said, "is to create a moment of escape or peace or a moment of fun, away from all the craziness."

What that can mean, said her husband, is a place to both celebrate the season and reflect on loved one who have passed away. He said the couple hopes people attending the concert can find "peace and comfort, and celebrate - all at the same time."

Jennie Williamson has been involved in the Christian music industry for 11 years and her performances, her husband said, are magical.

"There's a trust people find" at her concert, he said, whether they need to cry, laugh or find peace, comfort and joy.

People attending Wednesday's concert will hear a mix of traditional and new Christmas music, Jennie Williamson said.

"We do everything, some original, some old standards," she said.

While some of the songs are reminiscent of centuries-old music she performed as part of a madrigal group, Jennie Williamson's concerts also include standards from the 1940s and 1950s and songs from her new CD, "A Merry Singing Christmas," which can be heard on the label's website, Copies will be available for purchase at the concert.

What people won't hear are nearly unrecognizable arrangements of familiar holiday songs.

"We try not to mess with anyone's Christmas carols. "There's nothing wrong with that creativity," said Jennie Williamson. "But, that's not what I do.

She said she prefers to let listeners' minds "go to a completely dreamy place" when they listen to her version of the songs. Consequently, she said, "there are no funky key changes" or other conventions that would distract from memories of the originals.

"Christmas," Jennie Williamson said, "is timeless."

Contact Barbara Wallace Hughes at (515) 573-2141 or



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