Anna Vogelzang on Wintersong and Second Harvest Foodbank
Folk songstress Anna Vogelzang had no idea a few original Christmas songs added to her set list at the now defunct Project Lodge several years ago would grow into such a large charity event. Wintersong hatched in true DIY fashion from a grassroots effort to celebrate Christmas and help those in need during the holiday season.
With contributions from an array of local musician friends, Anna is now spearheading the effort to bring the festive giving spirit of Wintersong to the Barrymore Theatre on Saturday, December 13th. This year’s lineup includes Madison musicians Count This Penny, Corey Hart, Paul Otteson & Faux Fawn, Whitney Mann, Crane Your Swan Neck, and Dietrich Gosser. All donations benefit Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. Anna took some time out from her hectic schedule to talk about the upcoming show.
Wintersong has grown over the past two years now moving from the Majestic to the Barrymore Theater. What started the Christmas tradition of the Wintersong concert?
In 2011, my husband and I played some of our original Christmas songs at the Project Lodge during a regular show. The set was so amazingly fun that we thought, “wouldn’t it be great to have an all-holiday revue with all of our friends?” So the next year, we set out to present Wintersong at Gates of Heaven. In its first year, there was such a demand for tickets - so many of our friends and supporters were turned away - that we knew we needed to host it in a bigger space in 2013. And then after selling out the Majestic, we wanted to serve an even bigger audience - and in doing so serve the charity better. Both the Majestic and the Barrymore have helped usher us into this new space, and both helping us present the show.
What’s special about the Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin as the designated charity?
Second Harvest does a great deal of amazing work. In deciding on a charity, we were looking for someone whose reach was wide, and who’d also want to collaborate with us in this process. Second Harvest has proven to be a wonderful partner. Their organization serves 16 counties in Southern Wisconsin, and 43% of those in need are children; every $1 received provides 3 meals. In the last 2 years, Wintersong was able to raise funds for over 10,000 meals — we are amazed that we could have such an impact by producing a show, and are striving to raise that number each year.
The music lineup is really a great cross section of local Madison musicians. How did this group of musicians get together?
Thanks! When I was booking the first Wintersong, I first emailed the friends I most often played shows with. Every single person said yes, and it’s been the same lineup since (save the absence of PHOX this year). All of the folks performing are also collaborators and friends - it creates a really magical, genuine moment on stage where we all become family.
You have a new EP out called “Driftless.” Any special surprises we can look forward to on Saturday night?
I’ll be putting Driftless in my back pocket for this show, and will be sticking steadfast to the holiday numbers (as we all will be)! My husband will be performing on my set, and we have quite a few silly original tunes up our sleeves. We’ll also be playing my all-time favorite Christmas song, which I’ve recorded but have yet to play live, which is really exciting. There will also be a lot of great collaboration on stage across bands, and a lot of hilarity. We also have some special guest speakers, and we’re holding a raffle throughout the night with over $1500 in local prizes. It’s going to be a Holiday Spectacular!