A home decorated for the Holiday House Tour.

by Lucie Daigle and Laura Lucas

When the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Christmas Holiday House Tour returns for its 24th year on Saturday, Dec. 9, it will have several musical delights and surprises for those touring five gloriously decorated area homes.

This year some of our favorite local musicians will be stationed at several of the houses playing a variety of instruments and styles of music. Additionally, light snacks and refreshments will be offered at the houses, courtesy of some of Chestnut Hill’s local vendors and merchants.

With as much diversity as the five homes on the tour, the musicians include a talented pianist, guitarist, flutist, harpist and string ensemble. Here’s a sneak peek at the talented musicians who will be enhancing the tour experience.

Rich Rudin: A sophisticated, accomplished musician whose primary instrument is the piano, Rich Rudin will woo anyone with his tasteful renditions of well-known tunes from a variety of musical genres as well as with his own original compositions. He is frequently asked to perform as a solo pianist at various elegant events and equally often to play piano as part of a jazz ensemble at concerts and venues around town. Richard Rudin is also the owner of Maplewood Music Studio located in the heart of Chestnut Hill. Since 1980, Maplewood Music Studio has been serving musicians of all levels in the Chestnut Hill area and suburbs of Philadelphia. With the mission to be that touchstone to every potential musician, no matter the age, level, or economic level, music lessons are available on piano, drums, percussion, flute, clarinet, sax, recorder, violin, viola, cello, guitar, mandolin, ukulele, bass, trumpet, French horn, trombone, and voice. Maplewood Music Studio is a jewel in our community.

Play It Forward: With Dave Cohen on acoustic guitar and Anne-Marie Forde on flute, “Play it Forward” is a very fun, popular entertaining duo that has played an eclectic song list to packed rooms in many of our local venues. From soft rock, to blues, to pop and more, their live music takes any occasion and gathering to another level of joy and festivity.

Will Gillespie: With his harp and vocals, Will performs beautiful tunes at various receptions and brings light entertainment to any special occasion. Subtle, sophisticated and soothing are some of the words that come to mind when you hear Will play his harp. A gentle soul, Will plays familiar tunes from many genres of music in a way that is simply enchanting and elevating, undeniably suited to the spirit of the holidays. Will is also known to surprise his audiences by performing as a strolling harpist, an art that few musicians have mastered, making his music that much more delightful.

Independence Sinfonia: Chestnut Hill residents Eden and Steve Kadlecek are two of the musicians who will perform chamber music as a string quartet ensemble. The musicians in the quartet are members of Independence Sinfonia, an orchestra founded in 1995 by musicians from the Delaware Valley and is directed by Daniel Matsukawa, the principal bassoon of the Philadelphia Orchestra. The Sinfonia performs three concerts a year in its new home at Temple’s Ambler Campus, with an additional benefit chamber music performance in the charming Elkins Park Station concert venue. The Sinfonia’s next concert will be Feb. 25 at 3 p.m. and will be an “Opera Night” featuring soloists from the Curtis Institute. This string quartet will be a musical feast.

Walking Flukes: This trio of accomplished musicians from the Chestnut Hill area has played live music together for decades to the delight of countless audiences up and down the coast and beyond. Though individually, Bud McNally, John Danaher and Steve Feuerstein have been part of many different bands over the years, together they are known for their special mix of a wide variety of styles of music, from rock, to folk to jazz, to bluegrass and everything in between..Adding tightly delivered harmonies to their fine guitar work, Walking Flukes never fail to give any “old” tune a special new twist.

Also Enhancing the Tour Experience

Attendees are invited to return to the Woodmere Art Museum between 3 and 4:30 p.m. to enjoy a holiday reception with light refreshments and to explore the galleries, including the current Violet Oakley and Christmas exhibits.

For those looking for original holiday gifts for folks who love Chestnut Hill, we have you covered. Watercolor Artist Eddie Flotte has generously offered his beautiful painting for the front cover of our program booklet – a snowy scene of Germantown Avenue looking south towards the Chestnut Hill Hotel. You may buy this painting as an open edition print at $55 or as an archive quality Giclée reproduction at $275. The artist is donating 20 percent of the proceeds to the CHCA. Attendees may pick up their prints on the day of the tour or visit his watercolor gallery in Chestnut Hill, at 8433 rear Germantown Ave.

For those looking for the ultimate big gift, make sure you check out the big red bow “outdoor” surprise from our Main Sponsor Audi of Willow Grove at the house designed by Michael Moeller of MAM Interiors.

Christmas Holiday House Tour tickets are on sale for $45 for CHCA members and $50 non-members at chestnuthill.org or from Town Hall at 8434 Germantown Ave. The tour is self-guided, and you can drive or ride a trolley. The tour takes approximately two to three hours. Several shops and restaurants offer discounts to tour attendees on the day of the event.