About to reach your limit on “Jingle Bells” and Rudolph and his red nose?
Tuesday offers a respite -- a night of seasonal music that soothes the soul.
And it’s a gift to not just yourself, but those in need.
On Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. John Floridis performs, “December’s Peaceful Season,” a Family Promise benefit concert at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
The concert is free, but donations to Family Promise are encouraged to assist homeless families.
Since Family Promise launched its Helena affiliate in May 2011, it’s helped 70 families to become sustainably independent, said director Glenna Wortman-Obie.
“Since August we have served 17 families, six of them with housing and the rest with direct aid.
“Our program includes so much more than a place to stay,’ she added. “It … provides support and counseling so people can overcome the obstacles that led to their homelessness,” starting with their most immediate problems.
The holiday concert is free, she said, because Family Promise wants all families, no matter their personal finances, to be able to attend.
She asks people to give what they can. “We think it’s rather remarkable that a $1 donation results in over $3 in services.”
Each year, Floridis, one of Montana’s premier guitarists, brings something a bit different to the concert, keeping it always fresh.
And each year, a sizeable crowd fills up St. Paul’s to take a break from holiday frenzy and the din and clang of commercialized carols.
This year, Floridis is bringing percussionist and drummer Ed Stalling with him.
“He’s definitely one of the finest musicians in Montana by a long shot,” said Floridis. “He got into the Montana Jazz Hall of Fame after only being here a few years. Within a few years he got the reputation as the go-to drummer for all the jazzers.
“He’s a multi-talented guy ...and an incredibly sensitive and intuitive musician.”
He can “play these kinds of songs, whether its instrumental Christmas music or these hopeful songs of darkness into light.”
Stalling and bassist John Sporman are members of the John Floridis Trio, which was featured in a Northwest Emmy Award winning performance for the Montana PBS show, “11th & Grant with Eric Funk.”
Floridis likes to describe his music as bluesy folk rock, along with a little improv thrown in.
When he plays with Stalling “there’s a real real spirit of adventure in what we do.”
Some of the Christmas music they play will be familiar carol melodies with something new.
By mid to late December, “people are being bludgeoned by Christmas music.” I like to spice it up and give them something different.”
This time of year “I get so inundated with commercialism and crassness,” he said. “I wanted to give people a reprieve from that.”
Although his concert is in a church, “it’s not a religious service.”
“The idea is to bring folks to a place of lightness and a sense of peace.”
The music is calming, but “there’s definitely energy in the room.”
In a previous IR interview, Floridis compared the evening at St. Paul’s to a house concert. “It’s a warm, intimate evening of music…”
Following a recent concert, a veteran told him, “Your music helps me stop the voices in my head.”
“I was just floored. It was a very sincere thing for him to share with me and very humbling.”
Floridis, who hosts the popular Montana Public Radio music program, “Musicians’ Spotlight,” has a new CD out, “October Surprise.”
Although he’d written the songs years ago, they took on new meaning when he had a very personal “October surprise” two years ago, undergoing surgery to replace his aortic heart valve.
Floridis has been named Missoula's best musician by the Missoula Independent and has been a consistent finalist in that category.
He’s shared the stage with such artists as Shawn Colvin, Derek Trucks, Patty Griffin, Richard Thompson, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Cockburn, Kelly Joe Phelps, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Patty Larkin.
“If I had your music implanted in my brain I think I would be so much happier, thinner, peaceful, richer, etc....it moves my blood,” said Grammy-nominated songwriter Susan Gibson.
For more information on Family Promise, visit www.familypromisehelena.org.