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Island musicians return for holiday performance
Coming in for a landing after a busy year, South Whidbey favorites Eric Tingstad and Nancy Rumbel are returning for their 29th annual performance, “Twelfth Night.”
The Coupeville native and former Whidbey resident come to Langley after a year filled with holiday performances, song-writing and family milestones.
The two will play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts. Tickets cost $22; part of the proceeds benefit the Langley United Methodist Church.
In 2003, Tingstad & Rumbel won the Best New Age Grammy award for “Acoustic Garden.” Tingstad was also nominated for a Grammy in 2007 for his ensemble release “Southwest.”
Tingstad said he and Rumbel are known for their sense of rejuvenating and inspirational music.
“I carry that forward in my songs,” he said, “and a real sense of comfort.”
The performance features a mix of holiday and instrumental music. For Tingstad, the performance illustrates the beautiful melodies of their songs.
“Without thinking too much of words and meanings of songs,(it shows) how timeless the melodies can be,” he said.
The musicians have kept busy this year writing and producing new songs, including one Tingstad wrote for his daughter’s nuptials.
Tingstad plays the guitar while Rumbel is on the oboe, English horn and ocarina. This year’s performance also features Garey Shelton on bass. Their music is a blend of Americana fingerstyle guitar and melodic woodwinds.
The pair first collaborated together in 1985 to record their debut CD, “The Gift.” The album became a holiday classic and the pair have since recorded more than 19 albums together. Their most recent album, “Leap of Faith,” was released in 2009.
“It’s always real nice to come back and finish off the season in Langley where we met,” Tingstad said.
Bill Humphreys, director of music and sacred arts ministries at Langley United Methodist Church, worked with both Tingstad and Rumbel when they first began performing at the church.
He said the concert is like a homecoming for the two musicians.
“They represent the culture and music of the island that has really reached out to the world,” Humphreys said.
The music is a special joy for both Humphreys and the community. When their first album went out, it was an immediate success, some say because of the beauty and elegance of the guitar and oboe combination. Within a year Humphreys began to hear their music in elevators and stores, he said.
“They have continued to have a place in their heart for music on the island and at the church,” he said. “It’s wonderful that they have continued to do that for us in their career.”
Tingstad said the area provides a different vibe for them.
“There’s no performance like it,” he said. “There’s a familiarity with the audience in Langley that’s always a bit different — we know people in the audience.”