Best Bets: Milton's Havrilla performing triple play of Delaware shows

By Craig Horleman
Posted 2/18/22

Local audiences will get to see three sides of Milton-based singer/songwriter Christine Havrilla in the coming weeks. And she couldn’t be more excited.

“I love the fact that …

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Best Bets: Milton's Havrilla performing triple play of Delaware shows

Posted

Local audiences will get to see three sides of Milton-based singer/songwriter Christine Havrilla in the coming weeks. And she couldn’t be more excited.

“I love the fact that they’re all different. I love to do all sorts of shows,” she said this week.

First on Feb. 26, she’s doing a Songwriters in the Round show with Smyrna’s own Sol Knopf and Newark’s John Faye, best known for being part of The Caufields. That show will be at Kent County Theatre Guild’s Patchwork Playhouse in Dover at 7 p.m.

On March 5 at 7:30 p.m., she will appear with her full band, Gypsy Fuzz, for her big birthday bash at the Milton Theatre.

Then on March 11, Delaware Friends of Folk will present Ms. Havrilla at the Old State House on The Green in Dover as part of an acoustic show at 7:30 p.m.

The songwriters show gives her a chance to sing some of her tunes while telling the stories behind them.

“I love songwriters in the round shows because you just take turns. It’s like you’re hanging out in the living room and just like hey, let’s hop on into other songs and talk about stuff a little more up close and personal than if you were on a bigger stage with an audience. So I cannot wait,” she said.

“Both those guys are super wonderful. I’ve known them both for a while and we’re all different. We’re a little different style-wise as far as writing. So that’s another thing that just makes me excited to do this type of event.”

She won’t have to go far for the full band show in her own backyard of Milton, which she has made home for the past five years.

“We’re celebrating, ‘Hey, I’m still here.’ We’re celebrating another year. I don’t bring the full band down this way a lot. So to get the whole five-piece band — to get everybody to come down (mainly from the Philadelphia area) — is great. I have a lot of family and friends coming into town,” she said.

“Since it’s my hometown now, I love that the theater is there. It definitely puts some of the pulse into the area. And I’m just so glad I get to play it. I love that it’s an old theater. It’s going to be awesome to have not just me doing my stuff but have all my band members who are amazingly talented.

“It’s exciting because the music is going to sound different from when I play the songwriters show or the Old State House show and I do all my looping and whatnot. So this is great. People are going to finally hear the whole band — like me on steroids.”

The birthday show will be extra special after the last couple years she has gone through. Not only did COVID shut down most of her live performing but a breast cancer diagnosis stopped her in her tracks for a while.

“COVID affected me, as well as every other musician. You just had to figure out how to stay afloat. I did as well as anyone. We did the livestream stuff. Some people were doing it every week. I would do maybe one a month or two a month depending on how I was feeling. But it was cool to share the music in a different way. It’s definitely not the same as a live show, playing live in front of people. There’s just nothing like that energy and the vibe and feeding off each other. So we were all struggling to just stay connected,” she said.

“We’re doing this online computer thing. And there’s a screen between us. But it’s amazing how fans stepped up and they were starving for music, too. So, having hundreds of people, thousands of people watch a livestream or interact and send messages helped me get through. It was amazing that you could still connect with fans, and I bet you many musicians felt the same.”

During that time, WHYY picked up her band’s quarantine video of “Desire” for their House Concert Series 2020 while WXPN’s The Key raved about the same video, saying, “The song is a jagged rocker reminiscent of Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt.”

Ms. Havrilla was also featured on WDIY’s Parlor Sessions, Sellersville Theatre’s Soundbooth Sessions, Wawa’s Welcome America Fourth of July event and World Café Live’s House Concerts, to name a few.

While many musicians found inspiration to write more during the down time, Ms. Havrilla said she just wasn’t able.

“I actually did not find myself writing because I was just too ill and not able to really do anything. I definitely spent four months doing nothing — pretty much in bed and with doctors and stuff. So when I started playing my guitar again, it was like, ‘Oh man, my fingertips hurt.’ I wrote a couple of songs but I looked at this whole COVID thing and being sick as an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate,” she said.

“Sometimes musicians get burnout and you go, go, go and I just embraced the fact that it was really OK for me (to rest) because I’m very hard on myself. You can’t stop. You can’t take a break, can’t take the weekend off. But now it was OK for me to rest and recuperate because everyone else had to as well.”

Feeling much better and stronger now, she said she feels a renewed purpose.

“I’m now coming out after COVID and getting busier again and having some different types of gear to work with and some new people. I’m definitely inspired to write, write, write and go back and take some of the ideas that just kind of sat there in a bowl and take them out and start putting some songs together and now I have goals,” Ms. Havrilla said.

“I like to set a goal because otherwise I think you can just float and float and be like ‘Oh, I’ll finish that song sometime or I’ll get to it.’ But now I’m trying to stick to finishing a song by this show. I want to be able to play this new song. And that’s very helpful. I think as musicians, we have to set a timeline and a deadline so we can get
stuff done.”

An award-winning singer-songwriter who grew up in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, in a musical family and taught herself to play guitar at the age of 5, she has shared the stage with an eclectic list of artists like Brandi Carlile, KT Tunstall, Chely Wright, Jeffrey Gaines, America, Janis Ian, Karla Bonoff, Christopher Cross and Dave Mason.

Touring around both coasts with 13 albums and two EPs, she has been a full-time musician for the past 23 years and wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I’ve always loved watching live music and my dad would take me to concerts and I’d see people on TV. I tried to stop playing my guitar for a year just to try to focus on school stuff and I was miserable. So then I went back and thought, ‘You know what? I am going to do this.’ It’s crazy because I was on the cusp of when more of the DIY stuff and online stuff was popping up. So I was still coming from the analog time when you’re recording. I think even the first two albums of mine, in 1996 and ‘98, I had on cassette because people were still doing cassettes before everything went digital. So I got a little bit of both worlds,” she said.

“And now you know, it’s changed so much again. People aren’t recording full albums. They are coming with a song here and a song here. People are just downloading stuff. But I’m doing what I love. I live a simple life but I love my life and I love what I do and I keep putting music out there and people keep listening to it. So it’s working. I have lots of exciting moments I’ve remembered and a lot more to look forward to. So I’m just going to keep playing until I can’t.”

For tickets to the Feb. 26 songwriters show, visit here. The Old State House show is free but reservations are required by calling 302-992-8080.

There are limited tickets still available to the Milton Theatre birthday show and they can be purchased by visiting here.

Weyrauch to do coffeehouse

Speaking of the Friends of Folk, on Saturday, they will present their monthly coffeehouse concert in their new venue — the Dover Art League, 21 W. Loockerman St, beginning at 7:30 p.m.

This month’s show features Frederica-based singer-songwriter Mike Weyrauch. His music represents decades of musical influences and inspiration from an eclectic array of artistry and musicianship. His influences can be heard in his original music with sounds of gospel, soul, alternative, classic rock and Americana.

Opening the evening will be New Castle County singer-songwriter and pianist Lori Citro. She left her day job at DuPont Company in 2001 and has forged her way ever since as a singer-songwriter along with teaching piano and voice.

Admission is $7 for members of Delaware Friends of Folk, $10 for non-members, teens are half-price, and those 12 and under are admitted free. Fresh-brewed coffee, baked cookies and other snacks will be available. Full vaccination is recommended.

Michael Jackson tribute

“UMX” — The Ultimate Michael Experience starring Joby Rogers is coming to the Smyrna Opera House Saturday at 7 p.m.

Mr. Rogers is the only tribute artist with the honor of being personally chosen by Michael Jackson in a signed statement as an “official substitute.”

Tickets are $25 general admission and $35 preferred seating (in the first three rows).

For tickets, visit here, call 302-653-4236 or visit the box office at 7 W. South St.

‘Shrek’ at Sussex Tech

The Sussex Tech Drama Program will present “Shrek: The Musical” today and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. at Delaware Technical Community College - Owens Campus Theater, 21179 College Drive, Georgetown.

Tickets are $10 for students and seniors; $15 for adults (only cash or check accepted).

For tickets, email anthony.natoli@sussexvt.k12.de.us.

Now Showing

New this weekend in theaters is Channing Tatum in the action-comedy “Dog,” the action film “Unchartered” with Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg and the horror film “The Cursed.”

To share news of your entertainment event, venue or group, contact Craig Horleman at 302-741-8224 or chorl@iniusa.org.

Follow @CHorlemanDSN on Twitter.

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