Erwilian puts the joy back in Christmas | Living with Gleigh

It’s time to gear up for Christmas. I know, I know, Thanksgiving is not even here yet. But I’m getting psyched up already because my next door neighbors have extra cars in their driveway most weekends now. That only means one thing to me – it’s time for their band, Erwilian, to start their Christmas concert series.

This Celtic/folk/minstrel-type music puts Christmas joy in my heart. I’m not a big fan of holidays because of the extreme coordinating it takes to make everyone happy: from making sure we see our families to making gifts, planning meals and seeing lights. It seems the older my husband’s and my parents get and the older our kids get, the harder it is to coordinate all the things everyone wants to do. The stress of it can put a damper on my holidays and make me forget the real reason for the season.

But seeing Erwilian in concert is one of the Christmas events we all agree on. It’s not just the music, it’s the instruments too. Besides the usual collection of guitars, violin and drums, they have some very unique instruments I find fascinating to watch them play. These range from the hammer dulcimer to the mountain dulcimer and from a vintage celesta (a small, piano-like instrument with keys that make hammers strike metal plates) to a Bodhran (an Irish frame drum, beat with a brush type stick). Two of their members also play several different types of recorder: yes, that 4th grade instrument many of us struggled with – who knew that kind of music could come out of that simple instrument in the right hands? And it seems every year they add a new, unusual instrument to their repertoire.

One of the best things about this band is their long-standing commitment to playing in the community. So you can purchase a ticket to see them at Carco Theater or Auburn Performing Arts Center, but you can also enjoy their music for free at a couple of the area libraries and at Gene Coulon Park’s Clam Lights.

This is such a joyous tradition for my family, I want to share the experience with all of you. You can visit their website at for a taste of this inspiring music or meet them on Facebook. Plus they have a new album coming out in December called “Light from Darkness.” Here’s a rundown of their Christmas venues for your convenience:

30 November 2012. Ivar's Clam Lights!

Clam Lights, Gene Coulon Park, Renton, WA. 6:15p

9 December 2012. Acoustic Show

Covington Library, Covington, WA. 2:00p

15 December 2012. Supporting Bronn & Katherine Journey

Auburn Performing Arts Center, Auburn, WA. 7:00p

16 December 2012. Acoustic Show

Kent Library, Kent, WA. 2:00p

22 December 2012. 6th Annual Christmas Concert (Official Album Release)

Carco Theatre, Renton, WA. 7:00p

So when I come and go from my home on the weekends these days and see the extra cars parked outside my neighbor’s home, I can’t help but feel excited by the Christmas season to come. And although I’ve said it before, I must say it again: listening to their music makes me want to be a better person and puts the Christmas joy back into my heart. See you at Clam Lights!

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Covington. She is committed to writing about the humor amidst the chaos of a family. You can also read more of her writing and her daily blog on her Her column is available every week at under the Lifestyles section.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates