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Carols by Candlelight returns with Annual Holiday Country Concerts, Dec. 9 & 10

The benefit concerts for Rady Children’s Hospital include performances by Mark Wills & Richie Furay.

POWAY, Calif. — This Friday and Saturday two holiday concerts will benefit Rady Children's Hospital. In this Zevely Zone, I went to Poway to learn about the inspiration of Carols by Candlelight thirty-three years ago.  The family holiday concert – Carols by Candlelight – will take place Dec. 9 & 10 at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido. For a well know cowboy in Poway, it's been a lifetime of music, but one song stands out.

As the Mayor of Poway, Steve Vaus lives a very public life, but he sings one song for a very personal reason. It's a song he wrote titled 'I Still See You' that honors his baby sister who died at nine months old.  

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"Hallelujah, there's a heaven, where I'll see you face to face, that's the glory of our father of Christmas day," sang Steve who shared a picture of him as a boy holding his baby sister Alissa. She died from hydrocephalus. "That was the one time she came home, and I got to hold her, the kind of thing you never forget," said Steve.

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To honor his sister and help other sick children, 33 years ago, Steve founded a holiday concert called Carols by Candlelight. "Carols is a gift of music to the community because I love reminding people what Christmas is all about, the hope that Christmas represents," said Steve.

The two-nights of concerts will feature country music stars singing their hits and favorite holiday songs. This year’s headliner is Mark Wills, making his second Carols by Candlelight appearance. Wills, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, has eight Top 10 Country Singles, three Top 10 Country Albums and has been named Academy of Country Music’s Top New Male Vocalist.  

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Richie Furay, a legend in the country-rock world – he was a founding member of Buffalo Springfield, Poco, and The Souther, Hillman, Furay Band. Furay is also in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and is making his Carols by Candlelight debut.

Other headliners, and Carols by Candlelight veteran performers, include Anna Vaus, and Steve Vaus (2010 Grammy winner). Anna Vaus was recently named one of CMT’s “Next Women of Country,” recently toured with Willie Nelson, Girl Named Tom, and others; she also received the Miranda Lambert Award and ASCAP Award.  Also performing is Back to the Garden a Woodstock tribute band, recreating the music of the era, featuring the music of the Byrds, the Doors, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Joni Mitchell, Mamas and the Papas, Carole King, the Eagles, and more.  

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"You can bring your whole family for about the cost of taking your family to the movie, tickets start at 19 bucks," said Steve. "People walk away and say now I am in the spirit of the season."

Steve sings "I Still See You" for his baby sister every year. "When I hear carols, I think of angels, gather around you," Steve sang who told us her only Christmas on earth was in a children's hospital. "They treated her like she was a queen," said Steve. Her tragic loss, combined with the joy of the season, and it's no wonder every Christmas this cowboy cries. "But that's okay I think we've made her life count for something," said Steve.  

Following the on-stage performances, to close the evening, the audience and stars meet in the courtyard and sing “Silent Night” by candlelight. In addition to the live entertainment, the benefit also features a live auction offering autographed guitars and other items, as well as silent auction items and raffle prizes, donated by sponsoring organizations. To learn ways to get involved or become a donor, visit http://www.carolsbycandlelight.com/our-donors/.  

For more information, and to buy tickets, visit www.CarolsByCandlelight.com.

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