Weather Forecast


Local singer co-founds Christmas concert

Red Wing High School graduate Seana Johnson plans a Christmas show Making Spirits Bright happening Sunday Dec. 22

Three Red Wing musicians will take part in a full-scale holiday concert in the Twin Cities. The Making Sprits Bright show includes concert co-founder Seana Johnson on vocals, Anna Toegel on saxophone and Samantha Bengs on French horn and ukulele.

The Christmas concert will be at 7 p.m. Sunday Dec. 22 at the University Baptist Church, 1219 University Ave. S.E., Minneapolis.

Johnson became involved with the concert out of a yearning to give young artists in the metro more opportunities to be creative and to collaborate.

“My friend, the organist of University Baptist Church where the concert will take place, and I both graduated from graduate school this past summer with a Master’s in Music, and moved back to Minnesota from the East Coast,” Johnson explained. “We wanted to create a concert entirely performed and organized by young artists, with the theme of it being a ‘Christmas cabaret’ that included singing, instrumental pieces, dance and dialogue by all the talented people we knew who were also in our situation — recently graduated or currently attending graduate school with some emphasis in performance.”

Christmas music and concerts are big traditions for both Johnson and her organist friend Joe Trucano, originally of Brainerd.

The two attended Concordia College, where among many musical endeavors they participated in the award-winning annual Christmas concerts. 

Johnson continued being in Christmas concerts when she sang at the Cathedral in Baltimore while in grad school at the Peabody Conservatory of Music.

“This would have been the first year that I wouldn’t be involved in some Christmas celebration,” she said, “I love the aspect of artistic-directing, so I thought this would be a great opportunity for us, and the other artists involved.” 

The first half of the show will be the telling of the Christmas story, followed by what Johnson calls silly, funny and warm-hearted versions of Christmas carols.

“We’re really excited to have so much variety in our artists,” she said. “We have a local dance company performing two pieces, jazz and classical singers, a local actress reading the scripture and Christmas stories to start each section.”

The concert is free, but freewill offerings will be taken.   

Stacy Bengs-Silverberg

Stacy Bengs has been a photojournalist at the Red Wing Republican Eagle since 2010. She holds a bachelors degree in journalism and art from the University of Minnesota.

(651) 301-7880