“Tis a gift to be simple, ‘tis a gift to be free..,” goes that familiar old Shaker tune…and many of us long for those elusive gifts—especially during the holidays.  We long for the simple pleasures of home-cooked meals, handmade treasures, familiar songs, and plates full of grandma’s cookies.  But we all know how much time those simple things can eat up…not to mention money.

Thanksgiving just arrived and colored lights and inflatable snowmen have been turning up in neighbors’ yards already.  It seems we start working toward “the best holiday ever!” earlier each year, and every year I still manage to have shopping and wrapping to do on Christmas Eve.   Judging by the crowds and traffic that I battle in those last minutes, I’ve got a feeling I’m not the only one.

Before you get swept up in the whirlwind of holiday preparation, treat yourself to an afternoon or evening of honest-to-goodness music by Simple Gifts.  These State College-based folk musicians return to the Cecil County Public Library to present two concerts on Thursday, December 2, 2010.  They will play at 3:00 p.m. at the Perryville Branch Library, and at 7:00 p.m. at the Elkton Central Library.

If you weren’t in the audience two years ago, click on www.simplegiftsmusic.com for a sneak preview of the dynamic duo of Linda Littleton and Karen Hirshon.  The organic sounds of their dozen or so acoustic instruments, rich voices, and lively but laid back stage presence will transport you to other times and other villages.  These women are technically proficient on a beautiful array of fiddles, banjos, recorders, guitar, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, bowed psaltery (ever heard of that one??) and miscellaneous percussion instruments.   They also know a whole lot about traditional music from all over the world, and they’ll sneak in some generous lessons between the mesmerizing tunes, jigs, reels, polkas, waltzes, and ballads.

So why don’t you add one more thing to your to do list, and then put it in your pocket on December 2 and forget about it while you relax (or dance) your cares away with Simple Gifts.  Or better yet, invite your favorite music aficionados to come along and cross those  names off the list…for free!

If you can’t make it, you can check out the music of Simple Gifts @ your library with their CDs Time and Again and Crossing Borders.

What simple pleasures are you looking forward to this holiday season?

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