Former Berryville resident to sing at U.S. tree lighting

Posted: November 18, 2013

The Winchester Star

Former Berryville resident Amanda Mackintosh (left) and musical partner Carley Chilton, who perform as Aberdeen Green, will be among three preshow artists Dec. 6 at the national tree lighting.

Winchester — Even the possibility that she could be singing in front of the president of the United States in a few weeks has Amanda Mackintosh over the moon.

The former Berryville resident is one-half of the Nashville duo Aberdeen Green, which was invited to perform during the preshow of the 2013 National Christmas Tree Lighting to be held Dec. 6 in Washington.

“It is a godsend that we have been given this chance. We are continuing to work hard and will make the most of this opportunity,” said Mackintosh, 26, who graduated from Clarke County High School in 2005.

Aberdeen Green is made up of Mackintosh and musical partner Carley Chilton, 28, both of whom live in Nashville. The duo is one of three acts slated to perform in the preshow, which begins at 4:30 p.m. on the Ellipse at President’s Park, near the White House.

The event’s website, thenationaltree.org, hasn’t released a full schedule of performers yet. It announced Wednesday that the main show would be headlined by the band Train, jazz trumpeter and pianist Arturo Sandoval, singer Janelle Monae, and Latin musician Prince Royce.

The tree lighting is an annual holiday tradition started by President Calvin Coolidge in 1923.

President Barack Obama and his family will attend the lighting, but the duo doesn’t know if that will include the preshow.

“I am completely honored to have the opportunity to perform in front of the president, his family, and the nation. We will be in front of thousands of people,” Chilton said.

A lottery was held for admission to the event, and officials gave out tickets for 3,000 seats and 14,000 standing-room spaces, according to the event’s website.

The free show will stream live on the website Dec. 6 and will air on PBS stations during the month of December, according to the site. Broadcast schedules have not been posted yet.

Aberdeen Green will travel to Washington two days ahead of the performance with percussionist Pino Squillace and guitarist Zander Wyatt, who will also play at the tree lighting, Chilton said.

Aberdeen Green’s sound is influenced by old folk and Appalachian music, she said. The two women play original music they have written together or with other musicians in Nashville as well as the occasional cover song.

For this performance, they will sing three to four Christmas songs of their choice, but they are waiting for approval from event organizers before they can announce their set list.

Mackintosh said they originally contacted event organizers about being one of the musical groups that performs at the tree nightly in the weeks following the lighting.

When they heard back that they had been chosen for the tree lighting ceremony instead, she “started jumping up and down and was thrilled. I couldn’t believe it.”

The timing of the performance couldn’t have been better, Chilton added. Aberdeen Green is releasing its first music video and single, “Oh Shenandoah,” Dec. 1 on its website, aberdeengreenmusic.com, and other online sites.

The duo will then release its debut album, “The Oak Tree,” Jan. 1, 2014, Mackintosh said.

“We have been working really hard on getting this record out there and getting Aberdeen Green out there,” she said.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com