By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz
For The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT — Horn of plenty takes on a new meaning Wednesday when the big, brassy sounds of trumpets and trombones fill the air at the Community Arts Center with John Tesh and his “Big Band Christmas.”
“One of the best things about Christmas is the music and this show features all the classic songs people know and love as well as some favorites of mine all performed with a terrific band and a great horn section,” said Tesh during a recent phone interview from his home in Los Angles.
“The audience gets involved with the show and we always have couples come down in front of the stage and dance. It’s one of those shows that is great for everyone from the grandparents to the grandkids.”
Tesh noted it’s not uncommon for a couple of sweethearts to end up getting engaged on stage.
While romance might be in the air for some, the holiday spirit will touch everyone as Tesh, on vocals and piano, performs such classics as “Jingle Bells,” “Let it Snow,” “We Wish You the Merriest” and “White Christmas,” with the later carol giving him fond memories of his childhood on Long Island.
“When I was growing up, we still had blizzards each winter and there always seemed to be one right around Christmas so you would have to shovel a path for Santa to get to our house,” he said. “Now that I live in Los Angles, Christmas is a little different without the snow and cold weather. Since my wife is Italian, we tend to follow Italian customs and have all the family over and have a huge Christmas dinner that goes on for hours.”
His performance in Williamsport Wednesday marks the last stop for his Christmas tour which found him crisscrossing the country for several hectic weeks.
“I love this time of year. The traditions, the music the holiday spirit that seems to be everywhere,” he said. “I love the fact that we get to travel to different places and not only bring some of the classic sounds of the holiday to the audience, we always get to be part of their Christmas memories and see how the holidays are celebrated in different parts of the country.”
Tesh discovered his love of music while in elementary school even though he ended up playing the trumpet instead of his first musical choice, the drums.
Soon Tesh’s music would turn to the big band sounds which came about from his father who loved the big band sound and brought records home of the classic names in swing tunes.
Although Tesh continued to explore his musical talents and hone his skills, his career changed paths to include “Entertainment Tonight” anchor, bestselling author, syndicated radio host and of course, six Emmy wins as well as Grammy nominations.
For the 60-year-old Tesh, music is an important part of his life and a job he feels very blessed to have.
“I grew up with this type of music, so I feel grateful I have the opportunity to bring this show to audiences during the Christmas season,” he said. “There’s a certain part of performing live that is a challenge I enjoy. If I make a mistake, it’s right there and there’s no doing it over. However, it’s not like playing with a symphony and you mess up, which then sounds like a freight train going across the stage. Someone told me that if you mess up while playing with a band, it’s a mistake. If you mess up twice in the same song, it’s called jazz.”