It’s hard to believe that we’ve been talking to Christopher Clause for some 18 years since he first started doing Beatles tribute fundraising shows locally. The singer and songwriter is also a local worship pastor that was once based out of the grand old James Street Baptist Church but we learned not only of dozens and dozens of shows with hundreds of musicians raising funds to help the needy in the downtown core but also about Clause’s own original music. While Clause has been focusing on more original music as of late, with Christmas upon us he leads up a special gathering of friends to celebrate the season and again do some good for the community.
“Light always has that effect when it enters a room — it changes things and I like to think we’re like that,” offers Clause on his two decades of work bridging the secular, religious, musicial and altruistic communities downtown. “Sometimes it’s sketchy talking about religion for people but I always hope that our interactions always remain positive and we talk about music and good things that unite us at human beings — those are the true spiritual elements of life. Obviously, my daily focus is as a worship pastor but we’ve bridged the gap between Graceworks and what we’ve done with the Beatles shows.
“Every year, we present a Christmas evening and I really believed that people outside of Graceworks would like this so it simply became how do we do a show that includes more people,” adds Clause. “Since it’s been nearly six years since we had to leave James Street Baptist, we’ve travelled to different venues for shows. We had made a home at the Pearl Company — which was so homey and perfect for our needs but they were closing — and when word was that they were remaining open at least for a while, we jumped at the chance to do another show there. Our biggest shows were the Lennon tributes around Christmas and to come together around the season and give people a chance to hear some well known Christmas carols and maybe some not so well known Christmas music in an environment that is open and not judgmental, but open and warm like opening our living room to our friends — this is filling the gap from our Beatles shows.”
While at least one Beatles Christmas song will be included, Clause hopes for a seasonal event that is all encompassing and all welcoming for the music and people. With a featured band that Clause has gathered together for the evening special guests that fans will be familiar with are also adding to the event’s programming. And as always, Clause wants people to know that anyone can attend but if possible, a donation to Hamilton Food Share is encouraged.
“I’m happy to have three of our friends from the Beatles tributes joining the Graceworks band and we have a great show put together,” says Clause. “There aren’t a lot of venues where people can sing along with carols and we’d like to offer that — but not in the traditional sense. This is not your Grandmother’s church with songs played on an organ. We’ve got the full band and all of the songs will be full of life. This will be an evening of singing some traditional Christmas songs, and some not–so traditional ones, and a time to be encouraged, inspired and to give to those in need this Christmas. If you are wanting to go to a Christmas themed evening but are afraid to walk into a church building, this evening is for you.
“Admission is free for anyone so come no matter what but you are encouraged to make a donation to Hamilton Food Share who will be with us this evening as well,” adds Clause. “Whatever we make from the door, we want to have a positive impact on the city so we’re not asking for money but if you can help we’d like to help offer that blessing. We’d like to make a difference and Hamilton Food Share is great with that so people can come and sing some wonderful Christmas songs and know that they’re blessing someone else with their presence. We’re excited about that and that’s something to be grateful for.We want a fun event of encouragement especially at a time where we deal with so much negativity — I’d like a Graceworks Christmas to shed light and encourage people at this time of year and as we move into a New Year.”
A Graceworks Christmas happens on Friday December 20 at the Pearl Company with Christopher Clause and the Graceworks band with Andrew Aldridge, Lisa Winn and Bob Bryden. Show starts promptly at 8 pm and anyone can attend but a donation to the Hamilton Food Share is encouraged. Click on hamiltonfoodshare.org.