Lindsey Stirling ready to warm up your Christmas

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by MIKE CHAIKEN

EDITIONS EDITOR

Violinist Lindsey Stirling has so many Christmas memories growing up.

Calling from Milwaukee, Stirling said, “My parents did Christmas well.” For instance, said Stirling, her family would go door-to-door singing Christmas carols. It wasn’t until years later she realized how odd the tradition was these days.

“I thought everyone did it,” said Stirling, who brings her Christmas tour to the Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Thursday, Dec. 12.

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“I remember my dad was mischievous in the best way,” said Stirling.

Stirling remembered one Christmas in particular her dad helped her and sister pull off a prank.

Stirling said her family was close friends with one of the neighbors. But, Stirling said, there was a bit of a competition between them – especially during the holidays.

One particular year, Stirling said the neighbors put up a stunning display of holiday lights.

Stirling said she and her sister got this idea to steal some of the neighbor’s lights to put on their own house, just for a joke.

Stirling said her father stepped forward to help with the good-natured thievery.

Once the neighbor’s lights were installed on the Stirling household, her father called the neighbors to tell them to check out his family’s Christmas display.

The neighbors looked out their windows and said they were impressed, said Stirling. Then the neighbors went outside and saw most of their lights were missing. They then realized they were pranked.

“I have such good memories,” said Stirling of Christmas.

“I think the Christmas tour is one of my favorites,” said Stirling. “Christmas music covers such a wide range of emotions and feelings.”

During the show, the violinist explained, she gets to play Christmas music. She gets to dance around like a pixie. She gets to be funny. Plus, she gets to tell stories.

“I take people through a wide range of emotions (about Christmas),” said Stirling of her Christmas tours.

As a fan of Christmas music other than what she performs, Stirling said she leans toward the music performed by the crooners. She loves how Frank Sinatra and Michael Buble approach Christmas music.

Growing up, Stirling said her parents liked the favorites such as “Frosty the Snowman.” They also liked listening to orchestral versions of Christmas songs. Her parents also liked to listen to the instrument Christmas music performed by Mannheim Steamroller, she said. Mannheim Steamroller is still a favorite of hers.

The set list for the Dec. 12 show will be heavy on her renditions of favorite Christmas songs, said Stirling. There will be two exceptions, where she performs her own original music. But, she said, she adds a Christmas twist to them.

In September, Stirling released a new album of original material, “Artemis.”

“I really like this one,” said Stirling of the recording. “It’s my favorite and I think it’s my best.”

Although Stirling sees the new album as a step forward musically, she said she had to take a step backward to achieve this evolution.

Stirling said she wanted to capture the spirit of her first album, 2012’s self-titled release.

“There’s something magical (about first albums),” said Stirling. You’re making it up as you go along and you haven’t been drilled about the rules of how music should be written, she explained.

When she started recording the new album, Stirling said she started thinking about the girl she was on that first album. She thought about “what she would write.”

“I allowed myself to break the rules (on ‘Artemis’),” said Stirling.

“You’re not necessarily recreating (that earlier effort) but you’re trying to draw inspiration from the girl who existed 10 years ago.”

The new album also continues Stirling’s tradition of inviting guest artists to take over the vocals. This time, Elle King (“Ex’s and Oh’s”) and Amy Lee of Evanescence step up to the microphone for Stirling.

“I definitely have my bucket list (of who I want to work with),” said Stirling regarding how she chooses to work with on her albums. Other guests are invited because a song seems like it would fit their voice, said Stirling.

For instance, said Stirling, Elle King was picked because she was right for the song, “The Upside.” “I love her. She’s got an iconic voice and unique sound.”

Amy Lee (who sings on “Love Goes On and On”) was an artist on Stirling’s bucket list, the violinist said. She has been a long-time fan of Lee’s band.

Lee’s presence also is part of a growing relationship between the two artists, said Stirling.

“I recorded on (Evanescence’s) album two years ago, and we toured with them,” said Stirling.

“Now she’s on my song,” said Stirling.

On top of that, said Stirling, she and Lee now have become friends.

“The 16-year-old me is going crazy,” said Stirling of her growing relationship with her musical hero.

Lindsey Sterling brings her “Warmer in the Winter Christmas Tour” to the Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino on Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.

For information, visit Foxwoods.com or LindseyStirling.com.