A trip back to the 1920s through 1950s - swing, jazz and big band - is in store for audiences this holiday season when John Tesh brings his "Big Band Christmas" show to the stage at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
The show will include classic Christmas carols such as "Let it Snow" and "Jingle Bells," but Tesh said there also will be a mix of some of his personal favorites like "We Wish You the Merriest" and "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm."
Tesh said his yearly holiday show usually begins with a template of about 15 songs, and depending on how the audience reacts to the performance, they will change up their flow - feeding directly off of audience participation.
A trip back to the 1920s through 1950s -swing, jazz and big band - is in store for audiences this holiday season when John Tesh brings his 'Big Band Christmas' show to the stage at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Community Arts Center, 220 W. Fourth St.
"We get the audience really involved in the show," Tesh said. "We will have kids come up and we always have someone who ends up getting engaged on stage."
Tesh said a lot of the audience members will get up and dance and he really loves to see children at the shows because it may be the first chance they had to see a 12-piece orchestra playing live.
Tesh, on piano and vocals, is backed by a full orchestra of talented string and horn musicians. Tesh describes them as the best players in the Los Angeles area, "the cream of the crop."
With a background largely in instrumental music, Tesh said the band will perform a lot of instrumental renditions of the holiday tunes.
The musicians all have families and children, so they only play about four shows per month and the Christmas shows only run for about two or three weeks, according to Tesh.
Growing up on Long Island, N.Y., Tesh said his community was more of a performing arts area where every student in elementary school was required to play an instrument. Tesh wanted to play the drums, but was handed a trumpet instead.
The students would play easier renditions of big band versions of songs - that is where Tesh said his love of that genre of music began. He said it was further enforced by his father, who also loved the sound and brought it home from Okinawa to share with him.
As a child, he remembers white Christmases in New York and said he and a group of friends would go door to door playing instruments in a brass choir.
Tesh, a former "Entertainment Tonight" television anchor, is a six-time Emmy-award winning composer who also is an author and has many other accomplishments under his belt, including Grammy nominations and a nationally syndicated radio show.
Tesh said the idea for his radio show, "Intelligence For Your Life," which airs on more than 350 stations across the U.S., Canada and the U.K., began with a discussion with his wife about bedroom clutter.
He wanted to do a show that was unique, and, after noticing a stack of unread magazines on his wife's side of the bed, it sparked an idea.
"Let's find the great articles and the latest books and interview the authors and Ph.Ds for people who just don't have time to get to it (reading the articles)," he said.
With all of the things Tesh is involved with, time management is key. He has an 18-year-old daughter and 10-month-old granddaughter and likes to spend time with them when he can.
"I have every time management app you could imagine on my smart phone," he said.
He also said he has had some really great people working with him for decades who have helped to keep him on track, including his wife.
"It's really just prioritizing everything and having specific goals and asking what I'm doing right now that is leading myself to completion of that goal," he said.
Tickets for John Tesh Big Band Christmas are between $35 and $55 and are available online at caclive.com/index.php/music/johntesh.
For more information about Tesh, visit www.tesh.com.