The holidays in Baton Rouge wouldn't be the same without Michael McDowell's annual Christmas Spectacular show.
This year, McDowell will hold his show at 7 p.m. Dec. 16 at Our Lady of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 15615 Jefferson Highway, where he's the pianist.
For his concert of Christmas favorites, McDowell is going solo, which gives him more musical freedom. And the new venue — he's played at the Manship Theatre in the past — enables him to offer tickets at a cheaper price.
"This makes it more accessible for the audience," he says of the tickets, which are $15. For tickets and more information, call (225) 752-6230 or visit McDowellPianist.com.
The church offers a larger space for technical equipment in McDowell's production. But there's one aspect of the show that's even more important to him.
"The Christmas season is one of the busiest seasons of the year, and the people in this audience are choosing to spend some of that time with me," he says. "That's humbling, and I want to honor that. I want to give them a high-level show, but I also want to make it personal for them because it's true that they are the people who make this possible."
And in that spirit, the new venue will give patrons a chance to meet and talk to each other.
"They'll be sitting in pews, and the pews will be angled toward the stage," McDowell says. "When you sit in theater seats, you're more likely just to talk to the person or people you came to the show with. When you're sitting on a pew, you're in a group of people, so you'll visit with those around you."
McDowell doesn't want to give too much away about the show, but he promises lots of dazzle and effects.
McDowell is known for mixing up his songs, maybe inserting Mozart or classic rock where they're least expected. Yet somehow, it all fits together for what he hopes is a fun music experience.