The last weekend before Christmas finds two Waco stages stirring musical holiday mixes.
At the Waco Hippodrome, Arlington-based performer Michael Hix, his wife Ginny and a five-piece backing band bring his “Michael Hix Christmas Party” on Friday night. The Christmas music revue “The Most Wonderful Show Of The Year” returns to the Waco Civic Theatre for a four-performance run beginning Thursday.
Hix, 37, said there’s a reason for calling his show a party. “In my family, Christmas is a celebration,” he said. “We want to remind people why we celebrate Christmas.” The birth of Jesus Christ is first and foremost, but there are other reasons for the season for others, he noted. “So many celebrate for different reasons,” he said.
The “Michael Hix Christmas Party,” as a result, offers sacred and secular, serious and fun, traditional and new. In the latter category is a song Hix co-wrote, inspired by his favorite Christmas movie, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” — “Crazy Like Clark At Christmas,” a reference to the comedy’s beleaguered family head Clark Griswold.
Hix and his New Classix band mix pop, rock and country in a blend he nicknames “funkabilly soul.” “Why limit yourself to any genre?” the Amarillo-raised performer said, adding his band can play it all. “We have truly, truly some of the best musicians anywhere — People with experience playing in the bands of Miranda Lambert, Lyle Lovett, Pentatonix and more.”
Audiences who enjoy what they hear live can soon take some home: Hix and the New Classix have recorded an EP of “the classic sounds of the late ’60s and early ’70s” for release next month.
It all falls under the umbrella of family-friendly entertainment, a hallmark of Hix Entertainment. “My grandmother is one of my biggest fans. I would never perform where it would make it uncomfortable for my grandmother or my niece and nephew,” he explained.
Family-friendly entertainment found a welcoming audience when Hix and his band performed in Waco for the first time at the Waco Hippodrome in August, selling out the main floor seating.
“We had such a great reception from the folks at the Waco Hippodrome,” Hix recalled. “Waco may become another home for Michael Hix and the New Classix.”
Audience response also is bringing back WCT’s “The Most Wonderful Show Of The Year” for the third year, with singers and dancers drawn from the WCT and Killeen’s Vive Les Arts Theatre.
Director Dylan Gibbons said this year’s production will pull in more contemporary pop numbers to join the classic Christmas songs from the 1940s and ’50s, Broadway show tunes and other Christmas standards. “This year we’ve incorporated a bit more pop music to make it acceptable to more ages,” he said.
The revue features 23 songs sung to recorded tracks, with varied combinations of solos, duets, trios, ensembles and whole-company numbers. It’s a family-friendly size, too, fitting in 90 minutes with a 15-minute intermission.