Tag Archive for: Concerts

Streaming for Dystonia

Streaming for Dystonia

On Friday, January 24, Billy gave a very special concert. It was the first time he had performed simultaneously to a live audience and an audience around the world. The concert, “Streaming for Dystonia,” was sponsored by the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as part of a crusade to increase awareness of dystonia and to help raise funds for medical research. “Somebody in your circle of friends has dystonia,” said Billy at the concert. “It comes in so many forms, from someone suffering from writers’ cramp to someone whose neck muscles spasm so that they can’t straighten up to someone whose voice has become progressively hoarse.” These are all symptoms of dystonia, which makes it’s difficult to recognize,” he explained.
Billy considers himself fortunate to have found a way around his dystonia. He explained to the audience the way he now plays his guitar, with his left hand, and how he had to learn to fail his way to success. “As with dystonia, you can’t be afraid,” said Billy. For three years, Billy had suffered from the symptoms without it being properly diagnosed. During that time he lost his home, marriage, recording contracts and his music. “I’m here to help people find a way out of the trap that is dystonia,” said Billy. “I’m lucky because I can still do something I love to do.”
Billy is passionate about advancing the entire field of neurosciences. “The power of a chronic condition like dystonia, Parkinson’s or epilepsy to beat us down is really tremendous,” he said. Billy finds it an amazing coincidence that DMRF began its research into dystonia in 1976, the same year that he started playing guitar. “The worst thing that ever happened to me has unfolded to be the best thing that ever happened. To have this opportunity to play my music with meaning and purpose is truly a blessing. Thank you to all who turned out and tuned in to build awareness of dystonia!”
For more information about DMRF or to make a contribution, visit www.dystonia-foundation.org.
Written by Linda Ruhland

Introducing SimpleGifts 2013

SimpleGifts – Announcing SimpleGifts 2013

Announcing SimpleGifts 2013 – New CD WinterGrace

It’s been a busy off-season for members of SimpleGifts and our awesome staff and crew. Not only has a great tour been confirmed for the 2013 holiday season but there’s a new CD we’re just finishing up called “WinterGrace.” Like all the CDs that came before it, “WinterGrace” features traditional music that tells the real story of Christmas arranged and performed with a modern twist. Familiar classics include “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, and “Little Drummer Boy” while the lesser known title track provides a fresh but timeless melody from the hills of Appalachia. Celtic whistle, violin, bagpipes, piano and percussion combine with pristine three-part vocals and the signature sound of Billy McLaughlin’s acoustic guitar. “WinterGrace” continues to separate SimpleGifts from the pack of annual holiday artists by its creative arrangements, thoughtful song choices and lush recording engineering from co-producer Jeff Arundel. Listen to samples from WinterGrace here.


New band members join SimpleGifts for 2013 Tour

Introducing SimpleGifts 2013

SimpleGifts 2013

If you are a parent with young kids you can only imagine what it would be like to be gone for all of the holiday season not just one year but for eleven years in a row! SimpleGifts wishes all of our previous members and their families a blessed and peaceful 2013 holiday season! At the same time, we welcome new members Ashleigh Still, Torie Redpath and Amy Courts. These super-talented artists join returning members Heather Garborg, Billy O., Laura MacKenzie and Billy McLaughlin in a rotating sextet line-up for the busy 2013 “WinterGrace” Tour.




About SimpleGifts

As long-time fans will tell you, SimpleGifts makes musical magic by bringing a modern flair to traditional Christmas carols and hymns. Staying close to the heart of Christmas by avoiding commercial and pop holiday repertoire has become the trademark of this award winning six-piece ensemble.
SimpleGifts combines violin, Celtic whistle and bagpipes, piano, acoustic guitar and percussion with angelic three part female vocals to create a “modern Old-World” sound. There is nothing ordinary about the arrangements this team delivers both in the studio and in concert. Seen by over 20,000 live audience members last season, this group continues to grow in popularity throughout the Upper Midwest and has successfully transitioned from their early days in coffeehouses and small listening rooms to prestigious performing art centers and larger churches.

Join the SimpleGifts Email List