A South Dakota Acoustic Christmas

See our complete Song List from all the performances. (pdf file)

See a slideshow of some of our favorite memories.

CURRENT (2012) The group reunites this year for a reunion tour. With special guest Michael Johnson, the group invites you to join them for this very special tour. We thank you for the great support over the years.

OK, NOW FOR SOME HISTORY: What began as an alternative to playing in the local pubs during the holidays has turned into a South Dakota tradition. In 1990, organizers Mike Connor, Kenny Putnam, and Charley Smith, plus performers Barb Morean, Judy Connor, Tom Dains, Kathy Dains and Tom Peterson, rehearsed a show that was presented in the Old Courthouse Museum in Sioux Falls with sponsorship by the Friends of Traditional Music. When the weather turned bitter cold that day, the musicians were surprised and delighted to play to a standing-room-only crowd.

The next season, 1991, brought a request from the Friends of Traditional Music to do another show. By adding the bass playing and versatile voice of Terry Pospisil to the Acoustic Christmas cast and with the help of local acoustic groups, Slainte and Hidden Timber, the second concert was presented at Jeschke Auditorium on the campus of the University of Sioux Falls. Once again, the groups were pleased to have an overflow crowd attend.

By the year 1992, the word "tradition" was first applied to the show. Bill Holm, a poet, writer, storyteller and musician from Minneota, Minnesota and Jim Groth, a singer and instrumentalist, agreed to share the stage as guests of Acoustic Christmas.

The 1993 season brought Boyd Bristow as the guest artist, with not only his musical talent, but his expertise in recording. From that concert came the first of six CD's and tapes produced by Boyd and the Acoustic Christmas group. This was also the year for the first concerts in Rapid City, presented at the Dahl Fine Arts Center.

An old friend of South Dakota, Susan Osborn of Orcas Island, Washington, came a long way to perform with the Acoustic Christmas in 1994. The Rapid City show moved to First Congregational United Church of Christ to accommodate a growing audience. A Yankton performance was also added.

For Acoustic Christmas 1995, dancer Kristi Lund choreographed a dance segment to excerpts from the Nutcracker. Bill Holm was also there to read from his recently published writings. Sturgis was added to the list of performances and the Sioux Falls concerts were moved to the Community Playhouse. The overflow crowd in Rapid City pointed to the need for a larger place to perform.

In 1996 a new partnership emerged in Rapid City as Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity became the sponsor of the first show presented at Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, allowing more than double the audience of the previous year. One of South Dakota's favorite sons, Chris Gage, of Austin, Texas, performed with the troupe. Bill Holm presented readings and chronicled the year's blizzard traveling experiences in a subsequent book.

When 1997 brought better traveling weather, the group ventured back to the Hills to add the homespun humor of Deadwood's Gordy Pratt to the show. Doreen Pospisil's alto voice joined the choir. Tom Hartig brought his clarinet and saxophones and Christina Seaborn her violin to the first show that was recorded by South Dakota Public Television.

By 1998 the group felt it was time to add more percussion to the music and invited drummer Fred Evans to the show. Richard Muller of South Dakota Public TV fame wove storytelling and accordion playing into the Acoustic Performances. Full houses greeted the group in Rapid City, Spearfish, Pierre, Mitchell, Yankton and 5 concerts in Jeske Auditorium in Sioux Falls.


A South Dakota Acoustic Christmas Group

1999 brought the homegrown sounds of guitars, fiddle, tin whistles, bodhran, mandolin, bass and percussion combined with two guest artists Scott Olson, trumpeter and saxophonist, and Greg Tesdall.

Year 2000 was worth celebrating with the versatile musicianship of Tim Dumdei on harmonica, guitar and slide guitar and the wild music and humor of Gordy Pratt. The Twelve Days of Christmas will never again be sung with a straight face. Gordy is also a terrific player and songwriter. We had record breaking crowds and pretty good weather and an unforgettable December because of our great guest artists which you can hear on the South Dakota Acoustic Christmas 11 CD.

Year 2001 ... what can we say? Chris Gage & Christine Albert. Between the laughter and tears, the audience was entirely in awe of the beautiful engagement of some old friends and new. The music these two brought to the already spectacular review was even more than anticipated, and everybody brought a story home to tell.