Unlikely trio likely to start a tradition

 SALT LAKE CITY — Marvin Goldstein , Vanessa Joy and Thurl Bailey teamed up for a well-received concert, “Classy & Classic Christmas,” on Friday at the Grand Theatre.

“This is the first of what I hope is an annual event,” Goldstein said during the performance. Judging by the audience’s reaction, that seems a definite possibility.

The concert began with a medley of Christmas songs the three artists performed together, providing an immediate preview for the variety of the rest of the show.

The first half included selections from each of Bailey and Joy’s latest albums, “A Song for You,” and “The Voice,” respectively. Added to that was Goldstein’s energetic performance of a medley of songs from “The Sound of Music.”

Joy gave a thrilling performance of “Don’t Rain on My Parade” and the audience warmed up to Bailey’s youngest son performing “Cats in the Cradle” with his father.

The program was balanced with spiritual, thought-provoking tunes, and upbeat ones, plus equal alternating stage time for the performers. One minute the audience would be erupting in laughter, the next they’d be silent — moved by a soulful song.

Though they veered slightly from a typical Christmas program, the trio maintained themes of family, friendship and joy which they said suited the season.

Following a brief intermission, the group launched into extra fun Christmas numbers, getting the audience singing and clapping along and even getting 11 volunteers to help sing “The Twelve Days of Christmas” on stage.

From Broadway hits to Christmas hymns to “Marvin the Red-nosed Piano Player” with an accordion, the program was certainly lively.

Sprinkled throughout the performance were constant jokes and teasing.

“I can hold a note longer than (Vanessa) can. Watch,” Goldstein said as he held a piano key down.

“I guess we went a little over time. I do that all the time,” Bailey said, making a quick-witted reference to his professional basketball career.

Their family-friendly sense of humor drew heavily from the culture of the area, each others’ pasts and, of course, Bailey’s height. The audience was pleased with all of it.

The performers’ ending number, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” was met with a standing ovation from much of the audience.

As the attendees filed out of the theater, they spoke of how much they enjoyed the show and headed for the lobby to buy CDs or meet the trio.

One audience member seemed exasperated over the fact that the event didn’t sell out.

Goldstein shrugged over the situation, stating that there are conflicting events everywhere this time of year.

“The first time is always rough,” Joy said. But, she added, after a while “people start expecting it. That’s what makes it a tradition.”

Joy, Bailey and Goldstein were pleased with the turnout and response and are hoping to make their show a staple in the future Utah holiday arts scene.

For more information about the performers and concerts, visit www.vanessajoysings.comorwww.marvingoldstein.com.