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Katie and Matt Travis after their Dec. 10 concert with the Bijou in Saginaw.

Bijou Orchestra sets the stage for a Michigan Christmas

December 14, 2016       Leave a Comment
By: Pati LaLonde

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Matt and Katie Travis have been entertaining area audiences since they were small children. This holiday season is no exception. The two will once again take to a local stage for Bijou Orchestra present Christmas with Matt and Katie Travis.

The concert takes place at 7 p.m. Dec. 19 at the State Theatre, 913 Washington Ave. "It's such a thrill to be on the stage at the State Theater again joining the wonderful Bijou Orchestra," said Matt Travis. "Not many folks get the opportunity to perform with Christine on the national tour of The Phantom of the Opera, nor do folks get the opportunity to perform with their siblings - and I get to do both in one shot. Katie and I actually performed in the first ever Bijou Holiday Pops Concert about 10 years ago, so this will be a great trip down memory lane. We can't wait to sing in front of the wonderful folks of Bay City." Catherine McMichael, leader and pianist of the Bijou, says this is truly a made in Michigan concert.

"The theme behind this concert is there is a lot of great musicians in this area and let's put it on stage," she said.

The brother and sister team, joined by a quartet from the Saginaw Choral Society, Bells on High ringers from First United Methodist Church in Saginaw, and the Bijou, kick off the program with traditional favorites such as "Bizet's Farandole," "The Little Drummer Boy," "Ave Maria," by Franz Biebl, "Oh Holy Night," and an adaptation of Mannheim Steamroller's "Still, Still, Still."

The second half of the show is dedicated to the more "modern" holiday songs, including one that really hits home for McMichael - "Michigan Christmas" written by Saginaw native Brian D'Arcy James.

"It's a beautiful song," she said. "Riding bikes on Adams Blvd., I lived on that street. I remember the McArdles. Kids were always on bikes, people walking their dogs, every time that lyric comes around, that is so Saginaw. It's very personal to me. I never had the chance to tell him that. It's very possible we were neighbors."

But, she says that isn't her only favorite song on the bill.

"There isn't anything on this program that I don't really love," she said. "I love the "Ave Maria. It sounds ancient, but it's modern. I love the Farandole. It really kicks it up into high gear. It's going to be a beautiful concert."

Toe tapping tunes include a medley from "Home Alone," Mannheim Steamroller's "Deck the Halls," "Believe" from "Polar Express," and the orchestra with tunes from "A Charlie Brown Christmas." It wouldn't be a Bijou Christmas show without Elvis turning up to sing "Blue Christmas" and an audience sing-along with such classics as "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer," "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting on an open fire)" and "White Christmas." The program ends with "Go Tell It on the Mountain."

Tickets, $22 and $32 for adults, and $17 for those under the age of 18, are available at the theatre, 913 Washington Ave., logging on to or calling 989-892-2660.

Amanda and Matt Travis with Katie Travis after a performance of Phantom of the Opera in Norfolk, Va.
Photo by Pati LaLonde

From left Ashley Harris, flute, Les Nicholas, clarinet, Bill Milicevic, concertmaster, Catherine McMichael, keyboard, Jean Posekany, bass, John Upton, trombone, John Hill, percussion, Robert White, trumpet, Derek Lockhart, trumpet in a scene from last year's concert.
Photo by Pati LaLonde

Rod Bieber not only plays the violin, but MCed last year's show.
Photo by Andy Rogers

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Pati LaLonde

Pati is a freelance writer with experience in all things pertaining to Bay County, Michigan.

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