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Christmas concert gives back, too
John Berry brings his Christmas tour to Gainesville this year
John Berry performs a Christmas concert Wednesday at Brenau University.

John Berry in concert

Benefit concert for Challenged Child and Friends

When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Pearce Auditorium, Brenau University, 500 Washington St., Gainesville
How much: $25-$30
More info: 678-717-3624

For 14 years, singer/songwriter John Berry has been bringing the Christmas spirit to cities across the country with his annual Christmas concert.

And for the first time in a few years, Hall County is a stop on this annual tour featuring traditional and contemporary holiday music. Berry will perform Wednesday at Brenau University's Pearce Auditorium.

"It's me and my music. The first 45 to 50 minutes are songs I've had on the radio for the past decade or so, songs from my greatest hits album and my new album, ‘Those Were the Days,'" said Berry in a phone interview with The Times.

It was the title track off Berry's 1995 album "O Holy Night" that not only brought Berry into the world of Christmas music but also launched the annual Christmas tour. Since that album, Berry has released three other Christmas music collections, including an album of live recordings.

And along with the first hour of Berry classics, audiences at Wednesday's concert, which is also a fundraiser for Challenged Child and Friends, will get a second hour of more traditional favorites.

"We do an intermission and we come back and do about an hour and 10 minutes of very traditional music, as well as some newer Christmas music," Berry said. "Some I've written and some that some friends of mine have written."

Berry will be backed by a five-piece band and the show also will feature performances with his wife of 21 years, Robin. The couple have been performing together for the past 15 years, he said.

One of the highlights of the show, Berry said, is a performance of his song "Christmas Morning," which relates a conversation between a father and his child. In the song, only the father's side of the conversation is revealed, leaving the listener to imagine the words the child says.

Throughout the performance, a video of Berry's three children are shown behind the band.

"It's quite interesting, and while that's going on we have video, and there's always pictures of my children growing up from where they're very small to today," he said. "The very last shot is of me and my daughter ... She'll be 20 years old in January, but it's a pretty recent picture.

"It's quite lovely, and you see lots of people tearing up in the audience."