Veldman show to return to Paramount

Published 10:23 am Monday, August 11, 2008

Relax. The stars are in perfect alignment again. Pinch yourself. You’re not dreaming.

The rumors were true.

Michael Veldman and Friends will perform Dec. 5-6 and 12-3 at the Paramount Theatre in Austin.

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Don’t stop reading to rush out and buy tickets — yet.

The won’t go on sale until 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 4.

After six straight sold-out holiday concerts, Veldman and friends Erin Schumacher, Kaye Perry and Brian Bawek went on hiatus last December to spend more holiday time with their families.

They were sorely missed.

Now, they are beginning rehearsals this month for their seventh-annual show.


After their sixth-annual show in 2006, the friends admit they were undecided about doing another.

“I think it was kind of a mystery about what we would do at that time,” Perry said.

“We were undecided,” Veldman admitted.

The reason for the indecision was the ways each member’s family had grown and moved onward in life.

Schumacher admitted taking a one-year hiatus had “indefinite” written all over it.

Then, something happened.

“A year earlier, we had decided to take a year off at the five-year mark,” Perry recalled. “Then, Michael came up with a great idea and we changed our minds.”

A “crooners” show held in the spring of 2006 changed their thinking.

“It wasn’t a replacement for the Christmas show and it was at a different time of the year,” Perry said. “So, we took the Christmas season off, but relaxed we still loved doing something at that time of the year.”

“Michael is our leader and he makes the final decisions,” Schumacher said. “Out of respect for him we backed off.”

“We spent time at Christmas last time for the first time in six years just being ourselves,” Bawek said. “We ended up at a table at the Old Mill Supper Club singing songs at our table for our prayer before we ate.

“The people in the restaurant heard us and said ‘Sing more. We want to hear you,’” he recalled.

So, they did what they wanted to do: take a year off from performing, but discovered they missed doing something that had become such a large part of their lives.

Winter slid into spring and then spring burst into summer and they still had not made up their minds.

When July 3 arrived, it was a “go.”

“The Paramount Theatre people wanted to know by then or they were going to book another show,” Veldman said.

Last week, the group named their show “Our Favorite Time of the Year.”

There will be 22 or 23 different musical numbers in the show.

“We’re going to change it up this year with some different styles of music, but many will be basic traditional holiday music,” Veldman said.

Bawek, Scott Perry (Kaye’s husband) and Michael Schumacher (Erin’s husband) have been instrumental in helping Veldman put together a new set design.

“We don’t have too much time,” Veldman said. “We have to be practiced before hand and everything has to be made and brought in during the week before the first shows.

“We will have six days to prepare the set,” he said.

Final decision on the music will be made within the next two weeks.

When October arrives, they will be rehearsing.

Each of the performers is a product of Austin’s acclaimed “music programming;” the one about to be enshrined in a Hall of Fame by retired music educator Ken Jensen.

Legendary fans

Their fans are legendary for their loyalty and devotion.

That, in part, serves as a springboard for the new shows and the interest show already — four months before opening night in the middle of summer — for what is to come.

“They call me, they ask me at church, they stop we on the street and want to know if it’s true: ‘Are we going to perform again?’” Veldman said.

It is true, of course, and now the performers are getting excited, too, and the invaluable chemistry has returned.

“What I think is fun is that the first time we get together with an idea that Michael has had and then you put the four of us, it blossoms into something that flows and works,” Perry said. “It happens. It just happens.”

“It’s always been there,” Schumacher said. “There’s this special understanding or friendship we have.”

The members have their own music roots in Austin, performing together at a variety of functions.

“We’ve all crossed paths musically, whether singing duets in church or at weddings,” Veldman said.

Bawek said the pressure is “always there” to perform better than the year before.

“The concept we have this year: The staging, the music, the ideas we have … everything always seems to get bigger every year,” Bawek said.

Veldman said calling the amazing set designs “elaborate” is wrong.

“It’s never been about it being elaborate,” Veldman, creator and driving force behind the show, said. “It’s been about giving the audience a visual experience along with wonderful music.”

The music comes first. They will have practiced it to perfection by the time October arrives and they take to the Paramount Theatre stage.

“Every show is different,” Veldman said, because of the spontaneity of the performances — non-scripted and slightly spontaneous.

The audience members are an important ingredient to the success of each Michael Veldman and Sons show.

“The audience is getting to know us as much as we’re getting to know us,” Perry said.

“I don’t know how much they missed us,” Bawek said, “but we missed them even more.”