by Rosemary Ford , Staff writer
Eagle-Tribune
 

At this point in the season, many people have already taken in the traditional holiday concert.

That's why Eric Lindahl of Lawrence expects a large crowd for his "Not Your Typical Silent Night 2007" concert Sunday at the Rogers Center for the Arts at Merrimack College in North Andover.

More than 150 artists from across the region will take part in the show featuring local star fiddler Jake Armerding and international jazz saxophonist Lance Bryant

"We grew up on the variety show and even albums that are montage albums, with all the different sounds of Christmas," said concert co-organizer Lindahl, a music minister at the Free Christian Church in Andover. "We are trying to bring that to a live reality."

The show will also spotlight The Choral Majority gospel choir, the Boston gospel ensemble David Coleman & Confirmation, classical pianist Diane Lim, oboist Jim Sharrock, Berklee College of Music bassist Steve Nahlik and members of Andover's Dance Infusion company. And Lindahl has tapped his wife, singer/actress Robin V. Allison, to direct two children's choirs and help organize the show.

"Many people have their own Christmas shows to attend, whether through their church or their kids' school," said Armerding, who is making his first appearance in "Not Your Typical Silent Night." "Even for people who do have another Christmas concert on their calendar. (This) will be a very professional set-up - it has the feeling of all the stops pulled out. We are covering every Christmas carol on the books, it should be pretty extravagant."

Lindahl did design the program to cover all the bases - from beloved old English carols to a rocking Christmas song made popular by Wynonna Judd.

"All different kinds of expression of the joy of the season," he said.

The "Not Your Typical Silent Night" concert has been a fixture in Andover, on and off, since 1992. After three years of standing-room-only performances at Andover's Old Town Hall, Lindahl and his wife knew it was time to expand the production, which now includes visual elements to complement the eclectic sounds they present.

"Last year, we had to go to two nights, and we still had people standing," Lindahl said.

Peter Vantine of Middleton, the musical director for Covenant Christian Academy in Peabody, has been performing with Lindahl's show for about a decade and has seen it grow from a small production to the extravaganza it is today.

While as a musician, Vantine is thrilled with the program's production values, he's also happy about Lindahl's vision for the show.

"He brings a strong spiritual sense to the concert," Vantine said. "It's not just a performance, it becomes a celebration of God."

IF YOU GO
* What: "Not Your Typical Silent Night 2007" concert
* When: Sunday at 6 p.m.
* Where: Rogers Center for the Arts, Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike St., North Andover
* How: Tickets $15 adults, $8 children 12 and under; lap-sitters are free with parent; available at the door or call 978-794-3778 or 617-308-7244 for information.