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Mannheim Steamroller tour keeps holiday tradition alive

Mannheim Steamroller members Jonathan Swobod(from left) Johnny Adams Karly Jurgensen pose with founder Chip Davis New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Mannheim Steamroller members Jonathan Swoboda (from left), Johnny Adams and Karly Jurgensen pose with founder Chip Davis at New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2012. The iconic music ensemble will perform on Dec. 14 in Aurora. | GETTY IMAGES

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MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER CHRISTMAS BY CHIP DAVIS

♦ 4 and 8 p.m. Dec. 14

♦ Paramount Theatre,
23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora

♦ Tickets, $59-$69

♦ (630) 896-6666;
paramountaurora.com

Maps

Updated: January 14, 2014 11:31AM



Like mistletoe and holly, Christmas and Mannheim Steamroller just naturally go together.

“Many families attending our Christmas shows have made it one of their traditions,” said Chip Davis, the iconic group’s founder and creator. “At many shows you see moms and dads who were the kids attending the shows years ago. We see many generations together at the shows.”

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis will be at Aurora’s Paramount Theatre Dec. 14.

The ensemble began in 1974 when Davis recorded an album called “Fresh Aire,” which he dubbed “18th century classical rock.” The sound was a mix of classical and modern-day rock as well as a blend of acoustic and electronic music. By 1984 Mannheim Steamroller was a multiplatinum recording group because of the “Fresh Aire” series. In that same year, Davis recorded an album of Christmas music combining the group’s signature mix of Renaissance instruments with rock beats. The resulting album, “Mannheim Steamroller Christmas,” was a hit, selling more than 5 million copies.

Davis no longer performs with the group, but he still directs and co-produces two Christmas tour ensembles of Mannheim Steamroller that crisscross the United States; two tours of six-member ensembles perform 80 dates during a six-week period from mid-November to late December. This year marks the 29th anniversary of the tours, which feature Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas music along with a multimedia display including a light show, giant-screen images and videos synchronized with the music.

For Davis, everything is still fresh. “With the multiple bands, they put a new spin on it for me,” he said. “The music gets me jazzed. It makes me want to write new material.”Davis said Mannheim Steamroller’s popularity at Christmastime is due, in part, to familiarity. “I think it’s comforting to hear music from your childhood, kind of like comfort food,” he said. “And Christmastime is family time, and our music and concerts are all family-friendly.”

Davis added that Mannheim Steamroller has had success at Christmastime because it only comes once a year.

“We are also doing so well for so long because it’s not day after day,” Davis said of the music that is played at holiday time. “[The music] is seasonal, so in many ways it is still fresh.”



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