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John Tesh presses the flesh

October 05, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN - John Tesh fans from across the Tri-State area flocked to rub elbows with the musician and radio star Saturday night at the AVA lounge on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown.

The meet-and-greet preceded Tesh's performance later Saturday at The Maryland Theatre.

Fans started flowing into AVA's about 5 p.m. Tesh arrived about 30 minutes later wearing casual attire with a backward baseball cap.

Tesh, a former co-host of "Entertainment Tonight," seemed a little stiff at first. He kept his hands on his hips as adoring fans quickly surrounded him and began snapping photographs. In a few minutes, however, he appeared to loosen and chatted with people who asked for his autograph.

"He is exactly like he is on the air," said Karen King of Charlottesville, Va., referring to Tesh's "Intelligence for Your Life" radio program. "He's very personable."

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King, who is studying to earn a doctorate degree in higher education at the University of Virginia, said she listens to Tesh's brand of tranquil music to relax when she reads.

In addition to being a fan of his music, Denise Heck of Waynesboro, Pa., said she appreciated that Tesh publicly announced that he would remain celibate before he married actress Connie Sellecca in 1992.

Heck, who said she listens to Tesh when she drives to and from work in Frederick, Md., brought along her mother, Estella Hager, to meet Tesh as a 77th birthday present.

"I love his music," Hager said. "It's calming. It's soothing. It's just wonderful ... It's just inspirational."

Alexandra Kees, a high school student from Martinsburg, W.Va., spent about five minutes speaking to Tesh.

Kees said she wants to study music in college and was appreciative that Tesh took the time to name a few schools with good reputations.

"I thought it was incredible," Kees said. "I'm surprised we talked for such a long time. There was a long line (of people waiting to meet him) ... He was really down to earth."

Just before Tesh left AVA's to walk across the street to The Maryland Theatre, he said he was flattered to have such a large fan base in Hagerstown. He credited much of the following to his radio show, which gives listeners advice to improve all areas of their lives.

"It's the perfect period for people to listen and learn," Tesh said. "They spit the tips back (when I meet them). It's great."

Just before Tesh's concert began at 7:30 p.m., Maryland Theatre officials said about 900 tickets had been sold. The theater seats about 1,300.

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