high energy. high-spirited.

Jump 5 at The Maryland Theatre

Jump 5 at The Maryland Theatre

November 29, 2002|by KEVIN CLAPP

Their producer thought of everything.

The Tennessee recording studio was a winter wonderland decked in holiday splendor: Christmas decorations, lights, a tree.

Heck, there was even a chill in the air as the five members of Jump5 hopped headlong into the holiday season to record their first album of yuletide music.

Only one problem.

"Some of the time I forgot what month it was. After awhile of being in the studio it felt like it was this time of year," says 15-year-old Brandon Hargest. "It wasn't awkward, it was cool. It was awkward when we left the studio and realized it was 90 degrees out."

Welcome to the roller coaster world of Jump5, where up is down, left is right and Christmas really can be in July.


For Brandon and sister Brittany, 14, at least today provides an atypical dose of normalcy to their teen pop lives.

In an early November phone interview from their Nashville Tenn., base, the duo gave thanks for being able to spend this holiday with family - at their grandparents' home in Hagerstown.

"We're going to be there for Thanksgiving. All of our cousins are going to be there and aunts and uncles, so we're so excited," Brittany says. "It doesn't happen too often. But sometimes we'll go to Maryland or we'll go to Texas to see them. Or they'll come to shows to see us."

Ah, the shows. For Brittany and Brandon, time with family has been made possible by a pair of fortuitously planned concerts at The Maryland Theatre Saturday afternoon and evening.

At 2 and 7 p.m., the quintet will present a high-energy program befitting its name. A holiday show at the dawn of the holiday season, the five teens will likely mix yuletide classics from their Christmas disc, "All the Joy in the World," released in late October, with selections from their first two albums. The second, "All the Time in the World," was released in August.

Topping off their whirlwind 2002 is an appearance on the DVD soundtrack of Disney's re-release of "Beauty and the Beast." Jump5 re-recorded the title song for the DVD, a little number made famous by Peabo Bryson and - what's her name? Oh, yeah - Celine Dion.

Proud grandparents Janice and Allen Hargest were thrilled to have the family together this weekend - all three kids and five grandkids will be in town, and the entire clan will attend Saturday's show.

Janice Hargest has seen Jump5 perform some 50 times, including a show two weeks ago in Ocean City, Md.

"It was electrifying. They are so high-spirited," she says, pride beaming. "I never dreamed they'd come to Hagerstown because they've been playing all year in big places. ... (Their show) is so exciting. They are just full of energy. It's just incredible."

On the teen pop continuum, Jump5 falls more in line with the wholesome nature of Mandy Moore than the "dirrtier" stylings of Christina Aguilera.

Even on the phone their effervescence bubbles through; conversation is peppered with "cool" and "so", minus the Valley Girl "like."

Brandon says their shows aim for the same high energy they strived for on a summer tour with Aaron Carter, A*Teens and Baha Men.

Their goal, he says, is to create an enjoyable environment without the raunch typical of artists.

"Not many kids out there have many artists out there they can look up to their own age. I think it's cool because kids look up to us," Brandon says. "Parents, they can enjoy it, too, with their kids. It's not like 'Oh, it's rap, parents can't listen to this.' And it's not something parents can listen to and kids turn it off. It's something parents and kids can listen to."

Involved in performing since she was barely out of diapers, Brittany gushes at the opportunities the group - which also includes Lesley Moore, Libby Hodges and Chris Fedun - has been given.

There is the chance to record music with friends, the touring, the travel. The only drawback, it seems, is the time away from loved ones.

"I think the hardest thing is being away from family so long," Brittany says. "We usually call our parents every night to tell them about the show and what's going on, and we usually bring things from home to keep from getting homesick."

It helps, both teens say, that the fivesome is so close, a tight-knit group who met at dance class or on the talent show/recital trail.

"It's fun. We like doing this," Brandon says. "Sometimes (the life is tough) but it's part of it. You have to wake up early in the morning and have late nights but it's part of it. We knew it when we signed up, so it's cool."

Fresh from morning classes with her four bandmates, Brittany says she has always known she would be a performer. The only thing surprising is how quickly her dream has come true.

And for whatever downsides emerge - time away from family, a hectic schedule - they are all worth it once the group takes the stage and feeds off fan reaction.

"They just give us such a rush when we're on stage," Brittany says. "They're just always so excited, screaming. They make us want to do a good job."

Brandon agrees, and has a feeling the crowds that turn out Saturday will leave Jump5's show satisfied.

"It's a high-energy, just a fun dance kind of party," he says. "People will, hopefully, be jumping up and down in their seats. It's just a really cool vibe. We get people dancing for a couple of songs at the end, we'll have them jumping up and down and dancing."

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