Local Grammy contender and composer, Keenan Baxter of Valparaiso, Ind., is becoming known for his Christmas music. Local residents and visitors can hear Baxter's unique take on holiday tunes on Sunday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Indiana Welcome Center's annual holiday exhibit.

Baxter recently had one of his original-version Christmas songs selected for an international compilation CD. CLASi Records, a division of Veylre Music Group, selected Baxter's version of "Gloria" from numerous submissions from international composers and musicians. CLASi Records is a small indie label that introduces new acts and independent artists by producing starter records. They are creating an inaugural Christmas compilation CD to be released digitally and pushed to radio and other avenues. All songs selected for the compilation will be pushed as singles for radio promotion and digital movement.

Baxter began creating Christmas songs when he was asked to perform at the annual Christmas Candle Light Tour of historic homes more than eight years ago in LaPorte, Ind.

"I was bored with traditional sounding music, so I started improvising live during the Candlelight tour. Nobody knew I was improvising, but it was the beginning of the Christmas originals I have compiled over the years," stated Baxter.

After several years of performing, Baxter's Christmas music was finally ready. His Christmas originals have received high marks and recognition on an international website that is judged by professional musicians. Baxter has re-arranged them into different styles and added popular dance beats and other modern rhythms to make the standard Christmas songs more peppy and interesting.

In addition to the holiday music, visitors of the Indiana Welcome Center may also enjoy cookie decorating for $2 per cookie, kid's crafts for $1 each, free coloring pages and the opportunity to write a letter to Santa and put it in the center's giant Santa mailbox.

The Indiana Welcome Center is located at 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond, Ind. 46323. For more information on Baxter's performance or the other activities at the Indiana Welcome Center, call 219-989-7979.