Tag Archives: Elton John

Drew Angus’ Snow Globe Christmas

As a 5-year-old in 1994, Drew Angus first heard Harry Connick Jr.’s “When My Heart Finds Christmas.”

The iconic album — and the longstanding tradition of family Christmas Eve parties in the Anguses’ Westport home — were important parts of his childhood.

Christmas is his favorite season. Christmas songs play a huge role. And — now that Angus is a professional musician — timeless music like Connick’s inspires him artistically.

For years, the 2007 Staples High School graduate wanted to provide others with the joy he felt. Now — with the release of “A Snow Globe Christmas” — he’s done exactly that.

A busy touring schedule and other commitments kept him out of the studio in past summers. That’s when holiday albums are recorded. Just as Santa’s elves work all year round, it takes months of recording, art, marketing, distribution and promotion to produce something that magically appears right now.

But this August — when the pandemic wiped out Angus’ gigs — he had the perfect opportunity to bring some cheer, via holiday tunes.

Work began in August. He and Black Rock Sound producer Mikhail Pivovarov picked songs, and started arranging.

“With Christmas music, you don’t reinvent the wheel,” Angus says. “You take songs that everyone knows, and make them your own.”

His 5-track EP includes chestnuts like “The Christmas Song” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” along with Elton John’s rocking “Step Into Christmas.”

Drew Angus

It was also important to Angus that he include new music. So — drawing on his love of Connick, Michael Bublé, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole — he wrote 2 original tracks.

One — “Snow Globe” — was composed with his friend Nicholas Wells, via Zoom. It’s a hopeful reminder to take a step back, and find some calm amid the holiday season mayhem.

“The season will look a little different this year,” Angus says. “Thanksgiving may be more quiet. The Christmas Eve party won’t be filled with the usual gathering of families.”

Still, he notes, “the cheer will never be lost. I hope ‘A Snow Globe Christmas’ brings families a little joy this holiday season — and for many years to come.”

Just as Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby — and of course Harry Connick Jr. — have done for  years, for Drew Angus.

(Click here to hear “A Snow Globe Christmas” on your favorite platform.)

Autism Speaks — And Ethan Rocks

Two years ago, “06880” profiled Ethan Walmark. The 6-year-old — on the autism spectrum, as a very high-functioning child — played and sang “Piano Man” in a YouTube video. It went viral (over 1.5 million views), and Ethan was an international star.

A lot has happened since.

Billy Joel called Ethan’s intro “better than mine.” Ethan performed live on the “Today Show.” He was 1 of only 14 people worldwide — and the youngest — to receive a “Genius of Autism” award. (Then he won it again.) The Huffington Post named him 1 of 20 “Child Prodigies.”

He helped Yoko Ono flip the switch to light the Empire State Building blue for World Autism Awareness Day. Ethan looked her in the eye and said, “Imagine a world without autism!”

Meeting Ethan before a concert, John Mayer said, “Hey, I know you! You’re the internet sensation!”

Ethan’s performance of “Eminence Front” brought down the house — at a Who show.

Clearly, Ethan rocks.

He’s got plenty of talent, for sure. And — after his parents enrolled him in Fairfield’s School of Rock — Ethan’s cognition, social abilities and musicality soared.

Now, Ethan — the resident “rock star” of Kings Highway Elementary School –brings his international talents to his home town.

This Saturday (March 22, 6:30 p.m.), 2 bands — Clueless and Pearl — perform at Toquet Hall. All musicians play at the School of Rock. All are from Westport and Fairfield.

Ethan — now 8 — is the youngest participant. By 5 years.

School of Rock logo

The bands play music by Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Allman Brothers, Black Crowes, Santana and more. Many of the songs relate in some way to people on the autism spectrum.

Last November, the School of Rock house band drummer asked Ethan’s mother, Allison Ziering Walmark, if Ethan could join them in the concert.

“School of  Rock fosters an atmosphere of acceptance and respect, regardless of musical ability,” she says. “Ethan truly considers his bandmates his friends, and vice versa. The mere concept of friendship can be so foreign to people on the autism spectrum.”

A few days later, the band sent Allison another email: They wanted the concert to be a benefit for Autism Speaks.

If that doesn’t make your heart sing, nothing will.

Autism Speaks