By Steve Gillespie / Managing Editor
The Meridian Star
The John Tesh Big Band Christmas is coming to the MSU Riley Center Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. A pre-show party begins at 6 p.m.
According to Tesh, the audience can expect to hear holiday favorites such as "Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," "Silver Bells," "I'll Be Home For Christmas," "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," and "Christmas Time Is Here" from the television special "A Charlie Brown Christmas."
Much of what Tesh and his 12 piece band will do depends on the audience, however.
"We like to call it the co-dependent orchestra," Tesh joked in a telephone interview last week.
If the audience is dancing to the music, then that will keep the big band celebration energetic. If the audience looks more romantic, then that will change the mood of the band as well.
During his years with CBS news and Entertainment Tonight, Tesh said he covered a lot of performers, such as Sting, who also read the audience like a focus group.
"Some have a set list, and some, like Billy Joel, just wing it," Tesh said. "We start out like we have a plan."
There are places in each of the songs when Tesh and the band can improvise.
"That's what makes you come alive," he said.
The audience also can expect to hear Tesh' poem about an Old School Christmas. It begins like this:
"I want an old school Christmas, in black and white, when the tv stopped at the stroke of midnight.
No cell phones. No Facebook, no Myspace or Twitter,
We ate tv dinners and watched Mr. Wizard.
Chatty Kathy, Lincoln logs, and water balloons,
Back then we watched when they walked on the moon.
It was Lucy and Ricky, and the Ed Sullivan show,
We didn’t have an xbox we had the yo yo.
I want an old school Christmas. And I want it bad. Now that Santa has email, it’s just plain sad."
For the most part the family-friendly Christmas show will include Tesh's singing and keyboard skills on the Christmas classics.
"We want to take people back to the 1930s, when Christmas was not liking Christmas on your Facebook page," Tesh said.
Tickets for John Tesh Big Band Christmas are $52-$58. Visit the MSU Riley Center box office at 2200 Fifth St., or call (601) 696-2200, or visit the website www.msurileycenter.com.