Cabaret-style holiday singalong Saturday |

Cabaret-style holiday singalong Saturday

Submitted to Prospector

Music in the Mountains has expanded its schedule of holiday concerts this year, with five concerts in all, featuring guest performers and new programs.

The series kicks off Saturday with a cabaret show and sing-along at the Amaral Family Festival Center at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley.

Bi-coastal cabaret singer and actress Leanne Borghesi headlines the concert, performing offbeat holiday numbers like "Santa Baby" and "The Man with the Bag."

She'll be joined by the Sterling Cozza Trio for "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and other jazzy favorites. The audience will be invited to sing along to many of the traditional holiday songs.

"This year we are trying to offer the community several possibilities for enjoying holiday music," explained Pete Nowlen, artistic director for MIM. "We'll have the traditional choral concerts, a special French Joyeux Nöel with guest performers, this participatory cabaret experience and a concert by the MIM Youth Orchestra."

Borghesi has played to sold-out houses from San Francisco and Los Angeles to New York City. She is the recipient of the Best Actress Award from the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards and has performed at Gateway Theater, Sonnet Repertory Theater and La Mama in New York; Cape Fear Regional Theater (NC) and in California at CenterRep, TheaterWorks, Aurora Theater, Ray of Light Theater and Thrillpeddlers.

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Sterling "Joey" Cozza is a pianist from Sacramento who has been playing piano since he was 5 years old. He has performed at the Essentially Ellington Festival at Lincoln Center (NY), the Charles Mingus Festival at the Manhattan School of Music, the Monterey Jazz Festival and more. Sterling is currently enrolled at the prestigious Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY).

"This Dec.3 cabaret concert will be an innovative take on the holiday format," said Nowlen. "It will be appropriate for all ages, and even those who don't want to sing along will be entertained. Plus we will have an ugly holiday sweater contest so we welcome tacky attire."

Guests can choose traditional concert seating or intimate tables, which will be on the stage and on the floor. The Amaral Family Festival Center is unique in this area — a concert hall-style venue with a sophisticated, festive feel, comfortable chairs and deluxe concessions like spiked eggnog, mulled cider and other libations from the cash bar, plus coffee and goodies for sale.

For tickets and more information, visit

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