By Wendy Elliott
This is Rachel MacLean’s busiest time of year. She has a host of Christmas concerts lined up. This past weekend, she was on the South Shore and in Digby County, while this coming weekend, she’ll be closer to home.
On Saturday, she’s in New Ross at Christ Anglican Church, then on Sunday she’ll be joining friends on the stage of University Hall in Wolfville.
The Kentville singer says she continues to tour extensively each December because “it’s fun. I love this time of year and I love singing Christmas music.”
She says the reception she receives makes the driving time worthwhile.
“People are so, so kind. I am so lucky. That’s what living in Nova Scotia is all about.”
This year, MacLean will be joined by five other musicians when she performs in Wolfville. She’s looking forward to the Bluegrass styling of the Spinney Brothers and the unique musicianship of composer Dan Hill.
Not only that, MacLean will have some old friends on stage with her. Acadia School of Music director Jeff Hennessey will be playing the beautiful Steinway piano and Angie Campbell will act as her backup singer. All three used to perform together in the Upper Clements Theme Park band.
James Logan is MacLean’s guitar player.
MacLean is working on a solo album currently, which will be recorded over the winter. She expects it out sometime next summer or fall. MacLean has been writing songs for the last 25 years.
Putting together a new recording, she adds, has to be balanced with parenting two daughters, aged seven and 10. Her husband, Len Hawley, also has a busy life, so MacLean is grateful when extended family can assist with childcare.
She and her sister Mary have four CDs that are still selling. Their first recording sold out, but MacLean says their albums, released between 1999 and 2008, are all still available. Their Reflections of Christmas CD came out in 2002.
MacLean began life in a musical family. She and her three siblings were preacher’s kids living in rural Maritime communities. With parents who sang and played piano, it was natural for all four children to develop a deep love of singing, but it was the two youngest who decided to make it a career focus. Right now, Mary is a full time mom.
The Dec. 9 concert starts at 7 p.m. Tickets: $25, on sale now at the Acadia Box Office, 542-5500, Atlantic Save Easy and Pharmasave stores from Windsor to Digby.