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The Ragbirds make holiday show bigger, better

for Journal Register Newspapers

Posted: Friday, December 9, 2011

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When Erin Zindle organized the Ragbirds' first Holiday Variety Show in 2008, she was as curious as anyone else what it would be like.

"I wasn't sure at all what was going to happen," recalls the singer and multi-instrumentalist. "I knew it was going to be a cool show just because I had so many great artists involved, but I was also really nervous about it. It's a huge project.

"I love what it became, but I don't know that I envisioned it becoming this."

"This" is the Ragbirds` fourth annual show, which has grown to include 23 musicians -- including guests such as Dick Siegel, Jim Roll, Misty Lyn, Heather Schwartz and more -- and, for the first time ever, bagpipes and a horn section.

"We do pretty complex arrangements and really fun versions of the songs," notes Zindle, 33, who's arranged a version of Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" from "The Nutcracker" that she's dubbed "Hoedown of the Sugar Plum Fairy." "Every year I think the band gets together and the featured musicians get better.

"And everybody's so very different from one another that nothing surprises me. We really cover a lot of musical ground in this show."

In addition to the Holiday Variety Show, Zindle and the Ragbirds are also preparing for the Jan. 1 release of their fifth studio album, "Travelin' Machine," which she describes as "kind of the next step for us, production wise. It feels very fresh to me, and it's fun, really danceable."

The Ragibrds' 4th Annual Holiday Variety Show takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Call 734-761-1451 or visit www.theark.org.

Web Site: www.theark.org

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