John Tesh brings a swinging holiday show to Hagerstown

December 09, 2010|By TIFFANY ARNOLD |
  • Entertainer John Tesh will bring a 14-piece band to Hagerstown's Maryland Theatre for a holiday show.
Submitted photo

Radio show host and recording artist John Tesh will return to Hagerstown with a new sound.
Tesh is performing Monday night at The Maryland Theatre. He’s the voice behind the nationally syndicated “John Tesh Radio Show” — if you live in Hagerstown, you can catch the show on 97.5 FM, the radio station presenting the Hagerstown concert.
But to a prior generation, Tesh is the guy who co-hosted “Entertainment Tonight” with Mary Hart, composed reams of sports jingles and was an early adapter of new age music.
Tesh has performed in Hagerstown before — in fact, this concert makes up for a postponed May 7 show at The Maryland Theatre — but this time he said he’s scrapped the new age format for a swing-themed Christmas program. The two-hour, 18-song production is carried by Tesh’s vocals and piano playing, backed by a 14-piece band.
Expect classics like “Let it Snow” and “Sleigh Ride” with a light show, wrap-around LCD screens and plenty of back-and-forth with the audience.
“I’ve got to say it’s the most fun I’ve ever had on stage,” Tesh said.
The idea for this show came weeks before rehearsals, when he and his music director, bassist Tim Landers, were talking about the type of Christmas songs they listened to back in the day — Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Tony Bennett. Born in Long Island in 1952, Tesh was the kid who played trumpet and piano through college and was always putting on a show.
“Everybody in the country, certainly everybody in Long Island, wanted to be in a garage band,” Tesh said. “The problem for me is that as a classical piano player and as a trumpet player, there wasn’t really anything for me to do.”
Eventually, Tesh and a few fellow musicians formed The Rubber Band, a cover band that performed at parties and clubs along the East Coast. But Tesh matriculated in radio and TV news, despite his parents’ desire for him study textile chemistry — Tesh’s dad worked for Hanes — in college. Tesh saw success as a TV host, though he was moonlighting in music all the while. He eventually left his “Entertainment Tonight” post in order to pursue music full time.
 Tesh’s prior Christmas albums were well received. “Grand Piano Christmas” peaked at No. 5 on Billboard’s Christian Album chart in 2009. Other Christmas albums landed slots in the top 10 of Billboard’s New Age Album chart during the mid-1990s.
He said that when he gets to Hagerstown, he’ll bring along a familiar message.
“We bring a message of passion and purpose like the one we have on the radio show,” Tesh said. “We come with the intention of changing someone’s life.”


If you go ...

WHAT: Christmas with John Tesh
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 13
WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown
COST: $25 to $55. Purchase tickets online at, by calling the box office, 301-790-2000.
MORE: Follow John Tesh on Twitter, @johntesh or check his website,

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