Music News & Reviews

John Berry comes ‘home’ to perform in Macon

Grammy Award nominee John Berry said he always looks forward to the Macon stop of his annual Christmas tour.

“It’s just like coming home -- coming home to a town I’ve never lived in,” he said.

Berry will play his 18th Christmas concert Friday night at the Grand Opera House. The show typically sells out.

“It’s just a special place and it’s a special time,” he said of Macon during the holidays. “What makes it that way is the people. (The Grand) is a cool building and all that, but it’s still just brick and mortar. ... If we didn’t have people coming in there who cared so much about what we do ... it wouldn’t matter.”

He said he sees many of the same faces year after year -- from the crew at the Grand to members of the audience to the restaurant they visit after the show.

“It’s just like showing up and seeing some family,” Berry said. “It’s just awesome and it’s that way through the whole day.”

Berry launched his Christmas tour in 1995 after the release of his album “O Holy Night,” a collection of traditional Christmas songs. That same year, he earned a Grammy nomination for his single “Your Love Amazes Me.”

This year’s show will have an added special element. He typically performs with his wife, Robin, but this year also will be joined by a “couple of guys” who’ve come to the Grand show for many years but never performed, he said.

“I’ve known them since they took their first breaths -- they are my two boys,” Berry said.

His older son, Sean Thomas, will play acoustic guitar and his younger son, Caelan James, will be on drums.

“They are actually going to open the show and do three songs and just welcome everybody and kick things off for us,” Berry said. “As soon as they finish, we roll right into our official show ... and then they’ll stay on stage and play with us.”

The first part of the show will last about an hour and will include some of Berry’s radio hits and other songs the band likes to do.

“We’ve pulled out some songs this year that we’ve not done in a long, long time,” Berry said. “I think some of the folks who come and see us over the years are going to love hearing some of these songs they’ve not heard in a while.”

There will be a 15-minute intermission and then Berry will be back with more than an hour of Christmas music.

“The Christmas music is, of course, all very traditional -- a mix of secular and faith-based with the focus of the show being on a Christ-centered Christmas,” he said.

Berry promised the set would include “O Holy Night.”

“If I am known musically for nothing else but singing that song, that’s a good one,” Berry said.

When: 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19

Where: The Grand Opera House, 651 Mulberry St.

Cost: $37

Information: 478-301-5470; www.thegrandmacon.com

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