SIDNEY — Maureen McGovern envisions a big family gathering whenever she takes the stage for her holiday concerts: Family and friends, lots of smiles … plenty of holiday music and joy filling the room.
The versatile entertainer will help spread that holiday spirit Sunday in Shelby County when the Gateway Arts Council presents Maureen McGovern Christmas in a 7 p.m. performance at Sidney High School.
The Oscar- and Grammy-winning artist said she is looking forward to a festive evening when she visits Sidney.
“I kind of think of it as everybody has come for a Thanksgiving party,” she said during a recent phone interview. “I’ve always been sentimental about Christmas ever since I was a child, but my actual favorite holiday is Thanksgiving because everybody is there because they love each other. It’s a joyful noise. So I kind of combine Thanksgiving and Christmas in what I sing.
“It’s a good way to end the year, too,” she continued. “I’m 70 and when you’re 70 every day is a gift. We’ve had a lot of chaos (recently), and I like people to go on a journey with me. We all have fun, and I get the audience to sing with me.”
A multi-talented performer on stage, screen and in live concerts, McGovern rose to stardom in the early 1970s when she sang chart-topping songs for the movies “Poseidon Adventure” (“The Morning After”) and “Towering Inferno” (“We May Never Love Like This Again”), the latter of which earned her an Oscar.
She’s also starred on Broadway — “The Sound of Music,” “The Pirates of Penzance” and “South Pacific” — in addition to recording the chart-topping theme song “Different Worlds” for the ABC sitcom “Angie” in 1979.
Music, in one form or another, has been the common theme in each step of her career journey.
“Singing and music is the air I breathe,” she said. “Ever since the third grade I knew I was going to be a singer. I didn’t know how, but I set my compass on that. I love singing.”
And she’ll do plenty of that Sunday night.
The Youngstown native said she strives to make each Christmas show a little different than the last.
“I’ve done a Christmas show since probably the early 1980s … and I always add and subtract a little,” she said. “I’ll do some of the obvious songs we all grew up with, and some of them will have different twists. It will be holiday music … funny, silly, spiritual and inspiring.”
McGovern mentioned “Oh Holy Night,” “Our First Christmas,” “Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake” and “Auld Lang Syne” as regular numbers in her Christmas show and said she may work in some narration songs and a non-holiday piece or two.
“Typically I’ll do ‘The Morning After’ or maybe something from my current album ‘You Raise Me Up,’” she said.
McGovern said she will be joined onstage by Michael Shirtz – a singer/composer from Sandusky on piano.
“It’s going to be very relaxed and hopefully it brings back good memories to everyone,” McGovern said.
For more information or to get tickets, visit gatewayartscouncil.org, the Gateway Arts Council at 216 N. Miami St. in Sidney or call the Arts Council at 937-498-2787.
McGovern’s appearance in Sidney is being sponsored in part by The Community Foundation of Shelby County, Gibbs Farms LLC, The Ohio Arts Council, Emerson Climate Technologies, The Monarch Legacy Fund, US Bancorp, Mutual Federal Savings, Ruese Insurance, Bill and Mary Lou Francis, Ken and Mary Beth Monnier, Tom and Pauline Francis, Ron & Nita’s, Sidney Body Carstar, First National Bank of New Bremen, Community Insurance Group, NKTelco, Steve and Peggy Baker, and the Community Grant of the Community Foundation of Shelby County.