Toying around 

The holidays bring back a rush of memories. Some are good.

“My favorite memory is recording the ‘Big Love Hospital’ Christmas EP with Ryan Lindsey and Josh Jones a few years ago,” said Beau Jennings, an Oklahoma native who has released music solo and with Americana band Cheyenne. “It was a very spontaneous and collaborative effort, and whenever I hear it, I’m brought back to that time immediately.”

Some aren’t so good. “In high school choir, I got fired from playing the bells for taking too much artistic license,” said Seth McCarroll, Gentle Ghost (pictured) leader and member of fellow local indie-rock acts Student Film and Umbrellas. “I was demoted to playing the triangle.” 

The memories run deep, but it’s yet to be determined how the Christmas spirit will manifest itself at tonight’s third-annual Opolis Toy Drive.

“I’ve heard rumors of doing some collaborations onstage for some Christmas tunes. Hope that happens,” McCarroll said. “I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ll be wearing my most holiday bow tie.”

Jennings’ thoughts are less centered on attire, and more on his first Christmas as a dad.

“It’s my son’s first Christmas and it’s looking like everything defers to him now,” he said. “I was daydreaming that he would grow up to play the pedal steel someday, so if there is a baby-sized one, that’ll probably be on the top of the list.”

Even if Jennings can’t find such a thing, his participation alongside Gentle Ghost and Norman singer/ songwriter Brine Webb tonight willhelp those with wish lists that otherwise would not be met. Starlight Mints and Samantha Crain have performed at the Opolis Toy Drive in past years, and the musicians usually find themselves receiving their own gifts of sorts in return.

“I am excited to play with old friends,” McCarroll said. “Beau is a true-blue friend for life. We used to live together and play together, and it is always an honor and pleasure to share the stage with Beau.”

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