‘Not Your Typical Silent Night’ debuted in 1992 at West Elementary Auditorium in Andover as an outreach Christmas concert of BrookRidge Community Church. Created by Eric W. Lindahl and featuring BRCC and local Christian talent, the event immediately established its trademark creativity and unexpected variety and scope of music. The event’s purpose was to inspire and infuse listeners of all ages and tastes with the joy of, and reason for, the Christmas season.
Eric and wife Robin Allison Lindahl produced the concert in 1996 at Doherty Auditorium with a large and diverse cast which featured angel dancers and an early appearance by the future-powerhouse Choral Majority gospel choir. The program ranged from old English carols to African rhythms to “Home and the Heartland” from the then-new hit show ‘Riverdance’.
The NYTSN name was missing but the spirit and content continued during 1999 – 2001 as Eric joined award-winning composer Peter Vantine and One Foundation regional arts ministry to produce Christmas concerts with The Choral Majority and acclaimed Boston gospel ensemble Confirmation, under the direction of David Coleman, at New England Bible Church in Andover.
Eric became Worship Arts Minister at Free Christian Church, Andover, where Christmas concerts were presented every year, but he brought back the NYTSN name in 2003, followed in 2004 by the first performance at downtown Andover’s Old Town Hall, to capacity crowds. After two packed-house performances in 2006, it was time to expand.
The show moved down the road (literally) to the Merrimack College campus of North Andover in 2007. Under the mantle of their new regional arts ministry, Blue Window Arts Group, producers Lindahl and Lindahl now call the state-of-the-art Rogers Center for the Arts home, continuing NYTSN’s evolution as a professional production. The annual favorite continues to gain fans (a Nor’easter in 2008 forced a 48-hour postponement, and still sold out) and features an array of top-notch artists, multimedia elements and dance. But while the creative expression and setting continue to evolve, the purpose of NYTSN remains the same: to bring together gifted artists of all ages in collaboration and celebration of Jesus’ birth!